It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! This has been a year like no other, however there is a hint of hustle and bustle in the air. Holiday gatherings will be small this year but you can still bet your bottom dollar we’ll still fill our tables with the yummiest traditional holiday foods. While it’s the perfect time of year to indulge on these special treats, the season can put added stress on our bodies — including our teeth.
The good news is that you can still enjoy your holiday treats without sacrificing your oral health. Just follow these simple dental health tips for surviving the holiday season.
4 Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy During the Holidays
1.) Eat Sweets But be Smart About it!
We all know it!! Sweet, sugary foods can promote dental decay. So we of course recommend you forgo sweet treats that are high in sugar. However, we also know we simply must indulge at least a little! That said, moderation is key with anything that is high in sugar at any time of the year. Also, if you are going to indulge, we recommend eating your treats at one time rather than grazing on them throughout the day. This allows the saliva in your mouth time to return to a neutral pH level in between treats. The same rule applies to sugar filled drinks like wine, sodas and eggnog.
2.) Chow Down on Some Cheese (and Turkey, too!)
Thankfully some of our favorite holiday foods this time of year are of the savory variety, not the sweet. Some of them even have antibacterial properties and can help balance the abundance of sugary, acidic goodies that are right under our noses! Consuming cheese can actually lower pH levels in your mouth and produce more saliva which is helpful for preventing dental decay.
Your holiday turkey can also promote a healthy smile due to its high phosphorus levels, which can strengthen your teeth.
Other healthy holiday foods that can be good for your teeth are those fibrous veggies found on your favorite veggie tray (think carrots and celery). They are not only a healthy choice for your whole body, but can also remove plaque from your teeth as you eat them. And if you like to reach for those festive tins filled with nuts, rest assured that chewing on certain nuts can strengthen your teeth due to their high levels of magnesium, calcium and iron.
3.) Chew on Sugarless Gum
If you don’t have time to brush your teeth in between meals, a good way to combat tooth decay during the in-between time is to simply chew on sugar-free gum. The chewing process will help increase saliva production which can ward off decay. If you want to go an extra step further, keep some floss in your pocket or handbag and floss your teeth between parties. Not only will you be doing your smile a favor, but everyone else too — because your breath will be minty-fresh!
4.) Wait Before You Brush
Many holiday foods are pretty acidic and abrasive, which can cause even more wear on your tooth enamel if you brush right away. So be sure to wait longer before you brush your teeth between holiday meals to benefit your overall dental health. After you drink some wine or eggnog, or eat some holiday goodies, wait one hour (or more, if you can) before brushing.
However, this time of year, you also need to brush more frequently if you can! Your mouth will be working overtime as you eat more than usual during the holidays. Simply spending a few more minutes on oral care like brushing and flossing can help ward off dental decay this holiday season.