With the holiday season upon us around the corner, it’s time for festivities, friends, and family. Food and drinks are central to any holiday celebration. Sweet, sticky, and savory delights are wonderful at this time of the year, but if you want to flash a festive smile for years to come, you’ll need to take care of your oral health.
Following a few oral care tips during the holidays will protect your smile while letting you enjoy everything that the season has to offer.
Think More About Your Dental Care Routine This Year
A regular dental care routine is the best way to protect your teeth throughout the year. Combined with dental checkups every six months, you’ll have confidence knowing that your oral health is as good as it can get.
Although the holidays can be busy and at times overwhelming, you mustn’t forget about your dental care routine. In fact, this is the time of the year when it matters most. In addition to regular hygiene at home, you’ll also need to pay special attention to your diet.
Here are five essential oral care tips that will help you to care for your smile without missing out on any of the fun and festivities.
1: Keep Your Dental Appointments Over the Holidays
While a visit to your dentist probably isn’t the most exciting thing on your holiday season schedule, it’s still important to maintain any appointments that you have at the end of the year or into the first weeks of the new year.
If you have a routine checkup, cleaning, orthodontic adjustments, or maintenance for implants or dentures, make sure that you go to these appointments. It’s easy to put things off over the holiday season but this can put you behind in your schedule once the new year begins.
Keeping in the habit of making your dental appointments will help to ensure that any potential issues are detected and treated early. Preventative dentistry is the best way to maintain your smile, no matter the time of the year.
2: Go Easy on the Sweet Treats to Protect Your Teeth
Deliciously sweet and sugary foods are common during the holiday season, but they can be disastrous for your oral health. While you don’t need to avoid sweet treats altogether, you should try to limit your consumption.
Sugar is the enemy of oral health. It increases the buildup of plaque and bacteria, which can increase your risk of developing cavities. Candy, sweet cakes, cookies, and similar foods should all be enjoyed in moderation.
If you love to bake at this time of year, you can go easy on your teeth by opting for sugar-alternative sweeteners in your recipes. If you do find that you overindulge a little, be sure to rinse your mouth with water after eating to remove excess sugar and debris, and brush your teeth around 30 minutes after each meal.
This will help to remove sugar and plaque to keep your mouth fresh and protected from potential dental problems.
3: Make the Right Choices When Enjoying Delicious Holiday Food
Food brings people together. It’s an expression of culture and creativity. Whatever food you love to eat during the holiday season, be sure to make the right choices. While most people know that candy and other sweet food types are bad for teeth, all food plays a role in your oral health.
One of the most important oral care tips that you can follow is to make smarter food choices.
4: Brush Often and Don’t Forget to Floss
While we’ve already mentioned the need to brush, it’s so important that it deserves a tip of its own.
Brushing is the foundation of oral hygiene at home. There are considerable benefits, even some not-so-obvious ones, that can encourage you to brush more frequently. No matter what you do during the holiday season, don’t skip brushing your teeth.
The Benefits of Brushing are Too Important to Ignore
- Brushing keeps your smile bright and healthy. Plaque builds up on your teeth between brushing. When you brush frequently, you can prevent the buildup of tartar.
- Brushing your teeth also helps to remove bacteria from the mouth, so it will keep your breath fresh.
- Brushing removes debris and germs where the teeth meet the gums, so you’ll be less likely to develop gum disease.
- You can even save money by brushing your teeth regularly. As a method of preventing dental problems, regular brushing can reduce the need for complex and expensive procedures.
Brushing alone isn’t enough to keep your teeth healthy. Regular checkups with your dentist are also important, as is flossing.
Floss Your Teeth Once Every Day
Flossing is important for the health of your teeth. Although it takes a little extra time, you should never skip a day. Floss your teeth after brushing in the evenings. Work slowly and carefully through the small gaps between teeth. Flossing helps to remove plaque and food debris. It can reach places that your toothbrush doesn’t go.
Flossing is particularly important over the holiday season because it’s the time of the year when people typically eat more than normal.
5: Limit Alcohol and Stay Hydrated
Alcohol is often a part of holiday celebrations. If you partake, you should feel free to enjoy alcohol responsibly over the holidays. Just be sure to moderate your intake and be aware of what you’re drinking.
Alcohol can dry the mouth, increasing the risk of bacteria developing below the gumline. This can lead to gum disease over time. Many alcoholic drinks are high in sugar, especially the sweet cocktails that are enjoyed during the holidays. Just like sugary food, you should limit your intake of sugary drinks to protect your teeth and overall oral health.
Drink water between alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated and to wash away sugar and other compounds that get left in the mouth.
Darker drinks are more likely to stain your teeth, especially red wine and liqueurs that contain coffee. If you have recently had teeth whitening, or if you have veneers or dental bonding, you should choose drinks with lighter, natural colors like white wine and clear spirits.
Limiting alcohol and staying hydrated won’t just benefit your teeth. It will help you to feel better and avoid overeating. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things that you can do for your overall health.
Enjoy the Holiday Season While Protecting Your Teeth and Oral Health
The holiday season is a time to enjoy the company of friends and family. You can enjoy the festivities without compromising your teeth or overall oral health. Follow our tips and take care of your teeth the right way.
If you have any concerns about your dental health, your family dentist will provide the best advice and treatment. Forgetting to take care of your teeth over the holidays can lead to lasting problems. The professional and compassionate team at Chester Family Dentistry is available to help with any of your dental concerns. Need a consultation? Book your appointment by calling us at (804) 748-0101 today.