Whether you’re spending time with loved ones or braving the crowds to finish up your holiday shopping, this joyful season is a busy time of year.
While the holidays are a great time to step back and enjoy time with friends and family, it’s not a time to slack off on your dental care! In fact, patients should pay special attention to their oral health when pies, candy, and holiday cookies are so readily available.
Fortunately, safeguarding the health of your smile during the holidays only requires a few extra steps. To explain more about this topic, Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming share the best dental tips for protecting you smile this holiday season.
Dental Tips for The Holidays
We understand that dental health is probably the last thing patients are concerned with during the holidays. However, protecting your smile from tooth decay, gum disease, and other problems is a worthwhile investment and doesn’t require more than a few extra steps.
Some of the best ways to protect you smile this holiday season include:
Sticking to Your Routine
Remember to stick to your daily oral hygiene routine. Dental professionals recommend brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Doing so will remove plaque and bacteria buildup on your teeth that can cause decay and gum inflammation.
It’s also important to remember to take your time while brushing and flossing. Efficiently brushing the teeth should take around 2 minutes. Use small circular motions and a gentle pressure to effectively remove plaque and food particles.
Flossing is another important habit you should commit to over the holidays. If you’re only brushing your teeth, you’re still missing many of the hard-to-reach areas where plaque hides away. Choose a time of day where you can take around 2 minutes to thoroughly floss your teeth. Patients should use a C-shape to effectively floss between the teeth and underneath the gum line.
Be Cautious of Seasonal Sweets
From candy canes to eggnog, there’s no shortage of sweets to enjoy around the holiday season. Despite the sweet taste of seasonal treats, they aren’t so sweet for your dental health. The high sugar content in most popular holiday sweets is detrimental to your smile.
Sugar is dangerous for your dental health because bacteria already present in your mouth will feed upon it. Bacteria metabolize sugar and expel an acid that wears away at the teeth. As this continues the outer protective layer of the tooth, known as the enamel, will erode away. Without the enamel, patients are more susceptible to tooth fractures, gum disease, and tooth loss.
Of course, we recognize that the holidays are a special time of year to treat yourself and indulge with a few sweets. Instead of avoiding sweets altogether, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage that can occur to your teeth including:
- Limit the time you eat sweets: To put it simply — the longer you expose your teeth to sugar, the more damage will occur. With this in mind, we recommend limiting the time to enjoy your sweets. Instead of snacking on sweets over a long period of time, you should pick your favorite holiday treat and finish it in one sitting.
- Rinse your mouth with water: As we mentioned before, acidity in the mouth skyrockets after eating something sugary. To combat the acidity and the potential for enamel erosion, consider rinsing your mouth out with water after enjoying sweets. Rinsing your mouth out will help to neutralize acids and wash away leftover food particles that cause problems for your dental health.
- Avoid Sticky Foods: Caramels and other sticky sweets are dangerous for your smile because they can easily get stuck in your teeth. The sugary coating left behind by sweets leave your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay. Instead, opt for treats that dissolve right away and spare your teeth the damage.
Avoid Using Your Teeth As A Tool
Your teeth can handle an extraordinary amount of pressure and are designed to withstand daily wear-and-tear from biting and chewing. However, they are not the ideal tool for other tasks like opening packages or ripping tape.
Using your teeth for these tasks can cause chips or cracks. After enough time, this can wear away at your teeth, cause tooth sensitivity, or even cause malocclusion. To avoid this, we recommend using the appropriate tools instead of using your teeth.
Contact Dentistry Of Nashville
From all of us here at Dentistry of Nashville, we wish you a wonderful holiday season. If for any reason you need dental services, don’t hesitate to contact our office! We offer a range of services including family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and restorative dentistry.
Additionally, if you’re interested in getting a head start on your dental health in 2017, schedule your next appointment with Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming. Contact our office at (615) 383-3690 to schedule your appointment today!