The holidays are filled with sugary treats and lots of fun. But all this excitement can lead you to forget about your oral health.
Neglecting oral hygiene during the holidays can leave you vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities. Protect your smile this year by following our tips for keeping teeth healthy throughout the season.
Maintaining Oral Hygiene During the Holidays
Holiday oral hygiene starts with good brushing habits. This means brushing with the proper technique and using the right equipment.
Finding the right toothbrush is key to building a good oral care routine. Soft-bristled brushes are ideal because hard bristles may damage your gums over time. Adult toothbrushes typically have 1-inch-tall heads but you may find a smaller size is more comfortable for you. Both manual and electric toothbrushes can be effective if used properly.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice each day — once in the morning and once in the evening. Proper brushing consists of moving the brush in short strokes over the outer and inner surfaces of your teeth.
But brushing isn't the only part of a healthy oral care routine. Flossing once daily can help you clean the spaces between your teeth that toothbrushes can't reach. Regular flossing can also help remove plaque that can build up on your teeth and may cause gum disease.
Smart Food Choices for Healthy Teeth
Holiday food is one of the best parts of the season. But crunchy and sugary treats can damage your teeth if you aren't careful. Limiting certain foods and choosing dental-friendly alternatives can help you enjoy the celebration without compromising oral hygiene.
Foods that are overly sticky, chewy, or crunchy are best eaten with caution. Things like toffee or candy canes can chip or crack your teeth when bitten and may send you to the dentist. Sugar-filled sweets including sugary drinks like hot chocolate and eggnog can also erode your teeth and lead to cavities.
Balancing these foods with some that can improve oral health is a good way to take care of your smile this season. Fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples, and celery can strengthen your teeth and gums while cheese can protect your teeth from acidic foods.
Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to help wash away bacteria. Choosing a light-colored beverage can also prevent stained teeth when you want something other than water.
Balancing Treats and Oral Health
Maintaining good oral health doesn't mean skipping the holiday treats altogether. Incorporating a few dental-friendly strategies can help you make the most of the season while protecting your smile.
Sticking to your routine of brushing and flossing twice daily can help you keep your oral health on track. It's tempting to brush your teeth right after eating a sweet treat but try waiting at least 60 minutes before brushing to avoid erosion. Rinsing your mouth with water after eating can also help eliminate erosion.
Taking a teeth-cleaning kit along to parties is an easy way to maintain your routine even when you're out celebrating. Scheduling a cleaning with your dentist right after the holidays can also get rid of plaque and bacteria that built up throughout the season.
Holiday treats can make it hard to keep up with oral health. But with help from Risas Dental, your smile can stay bright and healthy all season long. Our bilingual team is standing by to give you the affordable dental care you've been looking for. Book an appointment today to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I enjoy holiday desserts without compromising my oral health?
It's possible to enjoy all sorts of holiday food without damaging your teeth — even sugary desserts. Protect your teeth by drinking plenty of water after each treat and brushing your teeth at least twice daily.
It's important to remember holiday desserts are best eaten in moderation. This prevents your teeth from being overloaded by sugar and bacteria. Balancing desserts with healthy, teeth-friendly foods can also reduce the damage caused by sugary sweets.
How can I keep my breath fresh during holiday social events?
Drinking water throughout the day can wash away the bacteria that leave an unpleasant odor in your mouth. It also prevents dry mouth — another cause of excess bacteria. Flossing helps eliminate food particles and bacteria between your teeth that a brush may not have access to.
Consuming sugar in moderation can minimize bad breath by reducing the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Keeping sugar-free gum on hand is another trick that can freshen your breath in a pinch.
Are there any natural remedies for soothing gum sensitivity caused by holiday treats?
Too many holiday treats can leave your gums feeling sensitive. But there are a few natural remedies that can provide some quick relief.
Saltwater rinses are useful for reducing inflammation and relieving pain quickly. Green tea, turmeric, and vanilla extract are also naturally anti-inflammatory. Chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin that can also relieve pain when used continuously.
What should I do if I experience a dental emergency during the holiday season?
Dental emergencies can interrupt your holiday festivities. But serious concerns should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.
You can still get the care you need during the holiday season. Find the nearest Risas Dental location near you to be seen as a walk-in for dental emergencies.
Can I use sugar substitutes or alternative sweeteners as a healthier option?
Alternative sweeteners don't affect your teeth the same way sugar does. This makes them a good alternative for sugary treats during the holiday season. But sugar substitutes can't replace good oral hygiene. Any holiday snack should be eaten in moderation and combined with a proper oral routine to keep your smile healthy all season long.