The holiday season gets a lot of good publicity and for good reason. It does set the stage for some great times with friends and family, plus you get to relax and take some degree of a vacation from work. And then there’s the food.
Oh, the delicious food! On the other hand, there are some potential pitfalls of the holidays. And one of them actually lies with that tasty food – the state of your oral health. Keep reading to learn from your dentist in Rexburg about how your teeth are at risk and what you can do to prevent any trouble.
In the Sweet Lies the Struggle
Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, and other winter holidays, sugar in its various forms is all around you. Cookies, pie, hard candy, chocolate, cake – you get the idea. That’s quite the gauntlet for you to navigate with healthy teeth intact. From stuffing to pasta, starch is also an issue, as it has the same effect on your teeth as sweet foods.
The sugar in these items gets broken down by oral bacteria after consumption, which in turn creates plaque acids as a form of waste. This acid sticks to teeth and collects over time, turning into plaque and tartar that cause cavities.
There are other factors besides what you are eating, as well.
Whether you are munching on leftovers from the big family meal or eating sweets throughout your workday, your teeth and gums would be much better off if you only had a few meals separated by several hours each. This is because your mouth isn’t given a chance to produce enough saliva to neutralize bacteria and clean food debris from your teeth. If you want to avoid a higher risk for cavities, breaking this habit ahead of the holidays is crucial.
Nothing Changes a Routine Like a Vacation
When you are traveling, it can mean upheaval to a lot of the consistency in your life, potentially including your oral hygiene habits. It’s easy to forget your toothbrush or miss brushing intervals for some other reason when you’re on vacation, or maybe you stay up too late and head straight to bed without practicing your dental due diligence. Oral hygiene matters no matter where you’re sleeping for the night.
A Holiday Game Plan Can Mean Your Teeth Win
If you implement these tips during those times of the year when things stray a bit from your normal routine, it can be crucial in preventing dental issues:
- While cranberry sauce adds some zest to holiday meals, if you avoid it and other richly pigmented foods, you can prevent stains on your teeth more effectively.
- Choose desserts known for containing less sugar, such as dark chocolate and gingerbread cookies.
- Choose cuisine that isn’t as harmful to teeth, including turkey, mashed potatoes, milk, yogurt, carrots, squash, pumpkin, onions, spinach, cheese, nuts, and similar foods.
- Increase the amount of water you drink while you eat, especially if you eat throughout the day. Swishing it around your mouth is helpful.
- Keep a toothbrush and floss with you when you travel. A small bottle of mouthwash is a great idea, too.
There are so many reasons to enjoy the holiday season, but it’s important to make it to the New Year with your teeth and gums still in good standing. Be sure to schedule a checkup with your dentist when the holidays wrap up to ensure that all is well!
About the Author
Dr. Bo Crofoot has loved the opportunity to help so many people live happier and healthier lives through his work for more than 15 years now. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Creighton University and he’s attended many advanced training courses through the years to expand his clinical skills. A dentist must keep up with his ever-evolving field. As a married father of twins, Dr. Crofoot understands the challenges of making wise food decisions during the holiday season. The tips in this blog post can help you protect your oral health, plus he will be ready to see you after the holidays for a dental cleaning and exam. What’s better than meeting a new patient for the New Year? You can schedule an appointment by visiting his website or calling (208) 656-3008.