Keep Your Mouth and Teeth Healthy During the Holidays

Healthy Teeth

Keep Your Mouth and Teeth Healthy During the Holidays

Keeping teeth healthy around the holidays may take a little bit of effort, but it will be worth it! The holidays are here and suddenly, at every turn there is a plate of goodies from the neighbor, an office party, or dinner with your friends and family. It’s possible that you even have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head! Sweets, sweets and more sweets are in abundance.  It’s a busy time of year with little extra time to devote to your health and well-being.  But, with a little forethought you can get through the holidays with your healthy teeth intact.

The following are a few tips for keeping your mouth and teeth healthy during holiday parties and gatherings.

Grazing is Only for Livestock

Holiday parties or dinners often have a smorgasbord of food available throughout the duration of the party. Unending grazing can put your teeth at greater risk for decay, so you may have to discipline yourself to eat only at mealtime. If it is not a formal dinner, vow in advance to limit yourself to one plate of refreshments and then walk away. Focus instead on the people at the party and engage in great conversation, which is more meaningful than the tempting apple pie anyway.

Cheese and Meat Trays Are a Good Alternative to Sweets

Cheese is a great snack, especially if you’re drinking alcoholic drinks or soft drinks. Cheese helps neutralize the acid found in these beverages, and the calcium is great for your tooth health as well. Meat is a great source of protein, which can help your body fight tooth decay and will keep your teeth strong and healthy.

Fruit and Vegetables are Good for Healthy Teeth and For Your Waistline

Instead of piling on sugary desserts, turn to fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth or skip the trays of Christmas cookies and brownies and fill your plate with veggies instead. Carrots and broccoli are loaded with Vitamin A, which strengthens your enamel, and is good for your teeth.

Is it reasonable to think you can get through the holidays without eating any sweets? Not really. You don’t have to skip holiday treats altogether. Eat a single dessert and brush your teeth afterwards. Your teeth will be exposed to less sugar if you’re eating a single treat than if you’re constantly snacking. This approach satisfies your need for a holiday goodie and reduces the risk of tooth decay.

Chew Sugarless Gum

It’s not likely that you’ll find a way to sneak off to brush your teeth after eating in your friend’s house. A good alternative is chewing some sugarless gum. Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. Chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris. It also neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Increased saliva also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel. Chewing gum will also keep your mouth busy, so you are less likely to eat any more food.

Avoid Eating Candy

Hard candy can crack or chip a tooth if you bite down wrong. This is not only painful, but it can be expensive to repair. Sticky candy is just as bad. The stickier the candy, the worse it is. This type of candy “sticks” around and on your teeth, increasing the chance for a cavity. Caramels and chewy candies are also notorious for pulling out a filling, bridge, or braces, and they can be worse for teeth than other treats such as cake and cookies.

Instead of stockings filled with candy, consider eliminating candy altogether and give the kiddos in your life some sugarless gum, a roll of quarters, an orange and small toys or novelties that don’t compromise their oral health.  You might also consider giving them a new toothbrush and their own tube of toothpaste as part of their holiday loot.

Red Wine Can Stain Your Pearly Whites

Drink white wine and your beautiful smile will thank you for it! Red wine can stain your teeth and will cause embarrassment if you have a red-stained smile. If the host only offers red wine, drink it with food to lessen how much of it gets on your teeth. Wine also contains acid, and puts your tooth enamel at risk, so limit drinking red or white wine altogether. Soft drinks fall into the same category of doing damage to your teeth. Many people believe that regular soda is bad for the health of your teeth due to its high sugar content, but diet soft drinks can also cause substantial harm to tooth enamel because of the acid they contain.

Stick to Your Routine

The holidays can interrupt your regular schedule, but it’s still important to brush at least two times a day and floss once a day. When you eat in between meals, brush your teeth if you’re in a place where you can do that or make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly.

Schedule a Dentist Visit

To maintain a healthy mouth, schedule a visit with the dentist.  Dr. Ashley Niles of Niles Family Dentistry cites, “Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for healthy teeth and gums.”  Cleanings should be performed at least every six months to prevent excessive plaque buildup. Left untreated, plaque can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay.

New Patients

If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Niles, you’re in for a “treat”.  She will listen to your concerns while thoroughly assessing your dental health.  She strives to build a relationship with her patients by recommending and delivering only the care you need. Dr. Niles wants to clearly inform and educate you about your needs, then work with you to create the ideal treatment plan for your dental care.

Niles Family Dentist serves patients in Niwot, Longmont, Boulder and surrounding areas in northern Colorado. Dr. Niles is committed to bring her patients the best and most advanced dentistry the profession has to offer. Give her a call today and make an appointment before the year ends so you can maintain healthy teeth and gums during the holidays and in the coming year.


Ashley Niles

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