It’s that time of year again! How do you take care of your pearly whites during savory, sweet seasons?
Keeping a healthy lifestyle all year round is easier said than done, especially once the holiday season takes over. Sweets and appetizing foods roll up everywhere, and it’s hard not to give in to these temptations at least once in a while. Adding to our extra chores are making early preparations, penning cards, and wrapping gifts, so there’s really not enough time to pay necessary attention to our welfare. That can also be said about the foods we eat.
As tempting it might be to grab sugary drinks or a chocolate bar to satiate your cravings, you might be doing more harm than good to your teeth. Remember, large portions of sugar can cause cavities, and they tend to develop quicker than you thought. Interdental cavities, for instance, affect one or two teeth before reaching hard-to-see areas. These are obtained by eating cariogenic foods like fast carbs and juices.
But don’t worry! We don’t intend to ruin your festive mood. It takes a good balance of consuming foods and implementing a proper dental habit, so here are our achievable tips to keep your healthy smile intact.
- Have a routine and stick to it
This one is a no-brainer. As we know, oral hygiene begins with brushing. Your holiday schedule can be a bit chaotic and distress you, but be sure to keep up good habits on the go. Brush your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes after meals, then floss (you can do it once daily).
What if brushing is not a viable option? A piece of sugarless gum is your best resort. It helps produce saliva and get rid of food particles. Bear in mind, though, that it only serves as a spare backup and not a lasting solution. So, don’t alternate it to regular brushing.
- Get a new toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
Don’t wait until the new year to replace your old toothbrush and toothpaste. Chances are, it could initiate dental issues or make the problem worse. Professionals recommend replacing the toothbrush every three to four months. Investing in an electric model is better, but sticking to the traditional design is also practical. Pick one with soft bristles and can sneak into areas that are tough to brush.
As for the toothpaste, it should be fluoride-type. Don’t forget to buy a new floss and mouthwash too!
- Avoid too much sugar, hard candies, and chewy treats
We’re all guilty of this. Slipping sugary treats and candies to satisfy our sweet tooth. Cookies, popcorns, eggnog, candy canes, caramels – name it. While palatable, it’s best not to indulge too much in these treats and snacks, or your teeth will pay the consequence for the next couple of months due to chipping, breaking, or developing tooth decay and cavities.
Keep everything in moderation. Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with water after consuming foods and beverages that are high in sugar content. Use dental floss to strip off bacterial plaque.
- Refrain from drinking staining beverages
Holidays wouldn’t be complete without red wine, tea, coffee, and fruit juices sitting on the table. However, they can cause stains and holes in teeth, specifically red wine. If possible, opt for a clear or light-colored drink.
Not to worry, though, if you love wine or coffee and don’t have any plan of stopping your fixation anytime soon. You can still enjoy a few sips by using a straw to prevent most acid from getting on your teeth, and of course, brushing thoroughly with a whitening toothpaste.
Sea salt and lemon are some of the ingredients that can make a powerful duo for removing stains. Thanks to lemon’s natural bleaching agent called citric acid, along with sea salt’s mild abrasive properties.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate
Juices, sodas, and sports drinks are not healthy options for your teeth. Water with fluoride will do. It does an excellent job of increasing saliva, cleaning away bacteria and food debris, keeping gums hydrated, and cleaning the mouth; hence, making your teeth bright and healthy during holiday breaks.
Drinking fresh water is also associated with fresher breath, youthful skin, improved digestion, and controlled cravings. Think about those large meals you can ward off by just drinking a glass of water!
- Do not use your teeth as a ‘tool’
Some of us have a habit of cracking up nuts and opening presents or bottles using teeth. It may be convenient during impatient times, but again, your teeth will suffer the most. This practice will wear off enamel and teeth’ friable edges over time.
Never make the same mistake! It’s better to look for a bottle opener or a pair of scissors than shell out money for an immediate dental appointment caused by a broken or cracked tooth, right?
The same goes for biting your nails. It may result in chips and corrosion on the front teeth – eventually deteriorating enamel and causing sensitivity.
- Eat smart and healthily
Instead of candies, sugary foods, and sticky treats, why not chew on fresh herbs, dip into vegetables, and hoard your plate with fruits?
Herbs such as cilantro and parsley are deemed beneficial at alleviating odors as a result of bacteria accrual. Veggies can take part in keeping your gums and teeth plaque-free, while the natural fibers contained in fruits help cleanse food sheards and stain-causing bacteria.
We can recommend adding broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, kiwis, apples, and strawberries to your holiday meals. Top it up with healthy fats (yep, they’re also considered safe and healthy for teeth!), including fatty fish and olive oil.
So, are you being kind or disobedient to your teeth?
Holidays are a special, joyous time to celebrate and enjoy with your loved ones and friends. Your taste buds have eagerly been waiting for this, and dealing with dental problems is the least of your concern. Do not let unhealthy eating habits spoil your confidence sharing generous smiles with everyone!
Indulging in festive foods without putting your pearly whites at risk is entirely possible, providing you have these oral care tips in mind. Not only do they contribute to having healthy teeth and gums, but to your overall health as well.