Posted by Dr. Julie Boudreault On 16-11-2023
The holidays are a joyous time of year, full of holiday cheer and happy gatherings. Unfortunately, all that celebrating can be hard on your oral health. Many Miltown patients face developing cavities and newly chipped teeth when the New Year arrives.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can defend against tooth decay and accidental tooth damage.
This holiday season, protect your teeth by following the tips on this list. And once the festivities are over, visit Milltown Dental for a post-holiday checkup.
Limit Your Consumption of Sugar
For many, the holidays are when you can say yes to those little (or big) indulgences. Why not have that second helping of pie or help Santa finish that plate of sugar-dusted cookies?
Between the freshly baked cookies, candy canes, sweet toffees, and chocolate treats, you would think sugar is synonymous with the holiday season. But just because visions of sugar plums are dancing in your head doesn’t mean that you should say yes to every single temptation.
Those extra servings of mouthwatering desserts and sweet snacks can spell disaster for oral health.
While you don’t have to avoid sugar altogether, you should try to limit your consumption. Increased sugar intake feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which can spur the development of cavities. When you indulge, do so with meals and rinse your mouth with water afterwards.
Both water and the extra saliva produced at mealtime help wash away excess sugars.
Opt for Dark Chocolate
Some treats are better for your oral health than others. For example, toffee, peanut brittle, and hard candy canes put your teeth at the most risk. When you crave something sweet, dark chocolate is your best option.
Dark chocolate has less sugar than other forms of chocolate and candy. Plus, dark chocolate is designed to melt in your mouth, so it washes away very easily with water or saliva.
It also reduces the time your teeth are in contact with the sugar. The less time sugar particles remain stuck to your teeth, the less likely you are to get cavities.
Ditch the Sugary Advent Calendar
Do you need another excuse to eat sweet things during the holiday season? Advent calendars are a fun and festive tradition.
However, they’re almost always filled with hard candies and milky chocolates. A candy-stuffed advent calendar only makes matters worse for your teeth.
You don’t have to abandon the advent calendar altogether, though. Instead, swap the sugary calendar for one filled with toys, games, little gifts, or family-friendly activities. Enjoying the holidays doesn’t have to compromise your oral health!
Try to Resist Holiday Grazing
For most families, eating is a significant holiday activity. Outside of the grand festive feasts, there are snacking opportunities aplenty. Unfortunately, grazing on these goodies is tough on your oral health. Why?
When you snack throughout the day, your mouth is exposed to a constant barrage of sugar residue and leftover food particles. It creates an acidic environment, which wears down your tooth enamel and promotes cavities.
When you choose to snack, rinse your mouth with water afterwards to wash away lingering particles. Otherwise, try to restrict most of your eating to meal times.
Less Alcohol, More Water
Alcohol is often present during holiday festivities. However, drinking can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Consequently, it’s better to limit your alcohol consumption as much as possible.
Are you feeling thirsty? Drink water instead! It washes away problematic sugar and food residue and keeps you hydrated, so you feel better throughout (and after) the celebrations.
Most alcoholic drinks are high in sugar, promoting cavities and tooth decay. Additionally, alcohol dries the mouth, increasing the risk of bacteria developing below the gumline. Darker drinks, like red wine and coffee liqueurs, can also stain your teeth over time.
Don’t Use Your Teeth Like Scissors
Your teeth are designed to break apart food, not break into pesky packages or rip apart wrapping paper or tape. It is easy to break, chip, crack, or fracture a tooth, especially if you misuse your pearly whites.
If you’re struggling to open something, grab a pair of scissors or a knife instead. Trying to force your teeth to do the job of scissors could land you in emergency dental care.
Similarly, you should not try to crack nuts with your teeth. You’re more likely to crack your teeth than the stubborn nut. Instead, only consume nuts removed from their shells and use a nutcracker to tackle unshelled nuts.
Take Your Toothbrush With You
For many of us, travel is part of the holidays. But whether you’re travelling to spend Christmas with faraway family members or to escape the Ontario winter for a tropical vacation, don’t forget your toothbrush!
You should bring your entire oral hygiene kit, no matter where you’re going. It should include a soft-bristled toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, dental floss, and mouthwash.
It’s vital to maintain your oral hygiene routine during the holidays. Between the sugary treats, increased alcohol consumption, and constant snacking temptations, your mouth needs extra care. You should continue brushing twice a day, flossing once daily, and using mouthwash to combat the onset of tooth decay.
Schedule a Post Holiday Checkup With Your Dentist in Milton
Even when you stick to your regular oral hygiene habits and try to make the best decisions for your oral health, the holidays are tough on your teeth.
Scheduling a post-holiday checkup with your dentist in Milton ensures you stay ahead of cavities and tooth decay. After all, professional teeth cleaning removes plaque and tartar buildup that brushing alone cannot address.
At Milltown Dental, our dental experts are ready to welcome you after the holiday celebrations. We’ll get your smile ready to enter the new year! Contact us today to schedule your post-holiday checkup.