During the busy holiday season it’s easy to fall into bad dental hygiene habits. But if you don’t want to ring in the new year with tooth pain, it’s worth the effort to take a few precautions.
Stick to Your Dental Hygiene Routine
Maintaining your normal routine of brushing and flossing twice a day is even more important during the holidays when we are indulging in food and drink that are not necessarily kind to our teeth. The American Dental Association recommends adding a Waterpik to your routine to help remove plaque between your teeth and under the gumline and help prevent and reduce gingivitis.
Be Mindful of Holiday Treats
Those delicious holiday treats can take a toll on our teeth. Go ahead and enjoy a few extra sweets, but make sure you brush and floss thoroughly afterwards. This is especially important after sampling sticky treats like caramel and fudge. If you can’t brush right away, drink plenty of water to help wash away sticky sugars that can cling to your teeth, and chew sugarless gum to help scrub away the sugar.
Hard foods such as nuts, peanut brittle, and toffee can wreak havoc with your teeth. They can break teeth and cause a lot of pain. Try breaking them into smaller pieces before popping them into your mouth, and NEVER try to break a nut with your teeth. If you don’t have a nutcracker handy, skip the nuts!
Limit Red Wine
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry shared a study reported in U.S. News that says that red wine prevents tooth decay and gum disease, but it did also caution that overindulging can cause more harm than good. So how do you reap the benefits without staining those pearly whites?
- Brush your teeth BEFORE that first sip so the wine can’t cling to and stain the plaque on your teeth.
- Drink sparkling water between glasses of wine. Swish the water to allow the bubbles to loosen and scrub away stains.
- Nibble cheese. Cheese not only builds calcium, it also rids the mouth of debris and protects teeth from acids.
- Eat plenty of fiber. Foods such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and potatoes cause more saliva and scrub away stains.
- Don’t start with white wine. The acidity of white wine erodes the enamel on your teeth and may act as a primer for red wine stains.
- Use Wine Wipes. Tuck a couple of wine wipes in your purse or briefcase just in case you see stains starting to develop in spite of your best efforts. Avoid using citrus fruits to get rid of stains because the acidity can erode the enamel of your teeth.
Keep Your Dental Appointments
If your routine dental appointment falls during the busy holiday season, it can be tempting to reschedule it for a less hectic time of year. Don’t do it! The time you spend at Carolina Family Dentistry is worth the confidence of a healthy, sparkling smile. It’s also a smart financial move to use up the last of your dental insurance benefits before the new year begins.