As the winter holidays roll around, starting with Thanksgiving and not ending till well after the New Year, sweet treats abound. The constant temptations that this season offers can often lead to dental hygiene issues, cavities, and tooth decay. No one wants to end these merry celebrations with a trip for a filling. At McDowell Dentistry, we want to offer up some helpful hints to keep your teeth healthy for this festive season.
Balance It Out
It is important to balance out foods that can affect you teeth like those rich in sugar and carbs It’s best to eat those sweets along with other, healthier fare like fresh fruits and vegetables, as part of a balanced meal. Your body actually ramps up its saliva production as we enjoy these larger meals, and this helps wash away food particles and even neutralize acids that can damage teeth.
Limit Foods That Linger
Any food that is sticky or chewy can really end up harming your dental health. These sticky items, even ones that are good for you nutritiously like dried fruit, raisins, dates, can get caught against your teeth and collect acid and plaque. By being aware of these chewy foods, and brushing frequently after eating them, you can enjoy every scrumptious addition to the holiday table.
Remind Yourself To Rinse
Whenever you find yourself eating something high in acid, like fresh fruit, sour candies, or drinks such as wine or coffee, it’s a great idea to rinse your mouth with water. This simple step can wash away those acids and keep them from building up and causing any decay. Plus, your mouth will feel fresher and ready to show off your sparkling smile.
Traveling With The Toothbrush
Most of us will be traveling at some point during the holidays, which can throw off schedules for brushing and flossing. By purchasing a good travel toothbrush and small dental floss that you can store in your car, your purse, or pocket, you can remind yourself to brush after those holiday parties. Making your dental hygiene items easy to access can really save you time and pain down the road.
Careful With The Candy
The holidays are full of treats and none are as fun as hard candy, from butterscotch drops to peppermint candy canes to those giant lollipops, it is everywhere. It can be very tempting to bite down and crunch all that sugary goodness, but a large number of dental injuries occur by chipping or cracking teeth on hard candy. If you decide to enjoy those treats, avoid chomping at all costs to prevent any emergency visits to the dentist.
Go Sugar Free
Xylitol, a sweetener derived from natural substances, can actually disrupt bacteria’s metabolic process of transforming sugars to acids. This can reduce your possibility of cavities and tooth decay. Xylitol is found in chewing gums and other candy like lollipops, so having a stash of mints or sugar free gum handy in between or instead of sweet treats, can really be a tooth saver.