Bad Holiday Habits to Avoid this Year

The holidays are full of family, food and fun.  Most people also enjoy some time off from work, which gets us out of our normal routine.  While you are enjoying a break, it can be easy to fall into some bad habits.  Here are some important things to consider as you relax this week.

  1. Drinking Everything Besides Water

People often become dehydrated during the holidays because there is so much other good stuff to drink besides water.  Coffee, tea, wine and other alcoholic drinks all cause dehydration by pulling water out of your system.  When you are dehydrated, it affects your body’s ability to produce saliva.

Dry mouth not only causes bad breath (are people backing up when you speak to them?); it also puts you at a higher risk for cavities and gum disease.  In order to enjoy your holidays to the fullest, make sure you drink plenty of water!

  1. Snacking Between Meals

We know . . . there are snacks and goodies out in every room of the house all day long.  Try to resist snacking between meals, especially if the snacks are full of simple carbohydrates.  Simple carbs are the main ingredient in chips, crackers, cookies, cakes and candies.  Not only are they bad for the waistline, simple carbs are also the main fuel for the bacteria that cause cavities.

By nibbling on these snacks all day, you are providing constant “sugar” to cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth.

What types of snacks are good for you to have between meals?

Anything packed with protein or fat.  Try to choose cheese, raw veggies or nuts when you need a quick snack instead of carb-loaded treats.

  1. Desserts. All Day Long.

Desserts are a wonderful way to celebrate a special occasion.  Sweets just seem festive, don’t they?  We have birthday cakes and wedding cakes to celebrate big events.  And what would Thanksgiving be without pecan and pumpkin pies? Which one is your favorite?  Don’t forget the homemade whipped cream on top!

This might surprise you, but your dentist does want you to enjoy your favorite dessert on holidays.  The risk for cavities comes when you eat dessert throughout the day, between meals, as opposed to right after your big dinner.

The reason the timing of your dessert matters has to do with salivary production.  You see, your body makes a lot of saliva while you are eating.  So having a big slice of sticky, gooey pumpkin pie immediately after dinner is less harmful to the teeth then having it two or three hours later.  If you just can’t pack another bite in after your big Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you drink plenty of water with your dessert and follow it with some sugar-free gum to get the saliva flowing.

  1. Slacking Off on Oral Hygiene

Going to sleep without brushing and flossing your teeth leaves dangerous plaque and bacteria in place to do their worst.  Whether it is from the tryptophan overload or too many glasses of wine, it can be too easy to drift off without giving a second thought to your teeth.  This year, make an effort to clean your teeth before getting comfy on the couch or your big recliner.

Then you can rest easy and wake up with fresh breath!

Happy Thanksgiving from Timberlake Dental!

From our families to yours, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love, joy and gratitude.  We are thankful for you!

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