Healthy Holidays

The holidays are filled with fun gatherings of friends and family.  This time of year, more than any other, those gatherings seem to be overflowing with SUGAR.  Your office lounge is full of sweet treats from vendors and customers.  Your neighbors bring over tins of cookies and candy.  Maybe your stocking is stuffed with Hershey’s Miniatures.

The holidays are sweet, but don’t let the sugar overload give you a bad report at your next dental visit!

How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy During the Holidays

People often joke about their scales telling tales of Christmas indulgences.  In the same way, your teeth could be tattling on you for some bad habits throughout the holiday season.  No one wants to gain weight, and no one wants cavities.  These tips may not keep you from adding on a few pounds, but they will keep you from adding some extra dental visits.

Keep Good Habits, Cut Out the Bad Ones

Late night holiday parties may lead you to develop some bad habits, like midnight snacking, drinking late into the night, or going to bed without brushing and flossing.  Perhaps your family time is a little stressful and has you drinking more wine or indulging in some emotional eating.

Whatever the situation, if it causes you to consume a larger quantity of sweets and acidic drinks, or to consume them more frequently between meals, it could be damaging your teeth.

Try to stick to good habits of oral hygiene.  Make sure to brush your teeth in the morning after breakfast as you start your day, and at night before bed as you end your day.  Nightly flossing is a must for fighting cavities.  If you have a high cavity risk, add a mouthwash containing fluoride after you brush and floss.  This will strengthen your enamel and help you resist new cavities.

Limit Your Intake of Sweets and Acidic Drinks

Almost everyone knows that sugar causes cavities.  Many people do not know that acidic drinks can cause them, too.  What is an acidic drink?  The most common ones are listed here, but a general rule is this:  If it is not plain water, it is probably acidic.

  • Soft drinks like Coke and Dr. Pepper
  • Diet soft drinks
  • Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade
  • Sugar free sports drinks
  • Sparkling water like La Croix and Topo Chico
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Wine

Many of these are a double whammy because they are acidic, and they contain a very large amount of sugar.  As the acid in the drink lowers the pH of your mouth, the bad cavity-causing bacteria thrive and create cavities faster.

Choose Chocolate over Sticky Sweets

Chocolate is by far the best candy for your teeth.  The fat content helps to balance the high sugar level.  The darker the chocolate, the healthier it is for your teeth.

Sticky candies, like gumdrops, caramels, or any soft gummy treats, are the worst for your teeth.  Their sticky nature allows them to adhere to your tooth’s enamel for an extended period of time, giving the bacteria a longer feast.  The longer sugar sticks to the teeth, the more likely it is to cause a cavity.

Follow Up Sweets or Acidic Drinks with Water

After you enjoy a holiday treat, whether that is a candy cane or a glass of wine, follow it up with plain water.  Swish the water around to dislodge any sugary or acidic debris.  This helps bring your mouth back to a neutral pH until you can get to the bathroom to brush and floss.

If water is always the last thing you consume, you will lower your risk for getting cavities!

Don’t Let a Toothache Disrupt Your Christmas

If you have a tooth that is bothering you, do not put it off.  Trying to find emergency dental care over the holidays can be more painful than the toothache is!

Do not let an annoyance grow into an emergency.  If a tooth does not feel quite right, let us take a look at it before it gets any worse.  Call us ASAP to schedule an appointment before Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Timberlake Dental!

We wish our patients, friends and blog readers a lovely, joy-filled Christmas.  It is our privilege to care for you.

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