With the holidays just around the corner, the last thing you want is for your oral care routine to go downhill at the finish line. Healthy habits are relatively easy to maintain throughout the year, but that can change dramatically when you’re eating far more sweets, desserts and starchy meals cooked by your family.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two largest culprits of these types of foods, which is why a dentist in Sacramento is prepared to give helpful advice to keep in mind this season.
Tip #1: Opt for Healthier Snacks
Some of the worst foods for your teeth appear right around the November and December holidays. The only exception to this is Halloween, and even that only lasts for one day. The harvest season brings its share of apple cider, candy apples, pecan pie, caramel candies and chocolate covered popcorn (a double whammy.) Christmas brings in eggnog, sugar cookies and lots of decadent, imported chocolates.
To mitigate your risk of tooth decay by the new year, you’ll want to switch up some of your desserts. During thanksgiving, have a slice of pumpkin pie, which contains Vitamin A and works to keep your gums and tooth enamel healthy. Instead of eating sugar cookies, opt for gingerbread, which tends to avoid white sugar. Ginger also carries anti-inflammatory properties and is good for teeth and gums.
Tip #2: Make Your Brushing Count
Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is really all you need to do in between your regularly scheduled dental visits. However, you don’t want to rush or skip your oral care just because family and friends are visiting your home. Considering the influx of sugar and starch coming in, the holidays are a more important time than ever to make sure you’re brushing for at least two minutes at a time with fluoridated toothpaste. For added protection, include an oral mouth rinse with enamel-strengthening properties. Consider asking for an electric toothbrush this season; they can make oral care more fun!
Tip #3: When Traveling, Stay Prepared
Traveling for the holidays can be incredibly stressful. There are few things more stressful than traveling for the holidays and then having a dental emergency hundreds of miles away from home. When traveling, always make sure to:
- Avoid foods that are very tough or chewy, especially if you have old dental restorations
- Keep a backup oral care kit in case luggage is lost
- Stay hydrated, especially if your trip involves strenuous activities
- Keep your hands busy and avoid habits that could damage teeth (i.e. using your teeth as a tool or chewing on your nails)
- Keep all orthodontic devices and other oral devices available (i.e. extra clear aligners, spare dentures, etc.)
Staying prepared is half the battle when it comes to oral health this holiday season. Have you scheduled your next appointment yet? Do so today and stay ahead of the Thanksgiving and Christmas rush!
About the Author
Dr. Scott Grivas earned his DDS degree from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry. He believes that providing the most up-to-date information on oral hygiene, both inside and outside the office, makes maintaining long-term oral health possible. To learn more about his practice, you can contact him through his website.