It’s the most wonderful time of the year for family gatherings and enjoying delicious seasonal treats. That said, it’s also a time when your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and mouth injuries could be unusually high depending on how you’re treating your teeth. If you still want to have excellent oral health once the celebrations are over, then it’s important to know what to watch out for. Here are 4 potential holiday threats to your teeth and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Going Overboard on Sugary Foods and Beverages
Whether it’s a pumpkin pie for dessert or a tall glass of eggnog and apple cider in the evening, the holidays are a time where you’re likely to be indulging in plenty of sweet treats. The sugar in these foods and beverages is consumed by the bacteria in your mouth and transformed into an acid that eats away your enamel. Thus, eating a lot of sugar throughout the day can easily lead to a cavity. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on your favorite seasonal snacks altogether, but you should try to save them for meals (when there’s plenty of cleansing saliva in your mouth) instead of munching on them constantly throughout the day.
2. Chewing on Sticky Treats
Caramel, peanut brittle, taffy, and other chewy sweets are probably some of the worst foods you can eat when it comes to your oral health. They cause sugar to stick directly to your enamel and between your teeth, giving bacteria plenty of opportunity to feed on it. And for people who have fillings or crowns, chewing on something sticky could cause their dental work to loosen or fall out completely. In general, it’s better to avoid these foods altogether if you can.
3. Biting Down on Something Hard
Enamel is tough – the hardest substance in your body, in fact – but it can still be cracked if you bite down on something hard. And since it can’t repair itself, you’ll need to see an emergency dentist right away if you suffer from such an injury. To avoid this kind of dental damage, avoid biting down on hard candy, ice cubes, and popcorn kernels. Also, never use your teeth to open any packages, as this could cause undue wear and tear.
4. Skipping Your Oral Hygiene Routine
Thanks to all the traveling that happens during the holidays, it can be easy to skip certain parts of your daily routine – including brushing and flossing. If you don’t clean your teeth on a daily basis, you risk tooth decay developing overnight. To that end, make sure you’re using your toothbrush and your dental floss as often as possible during the holiday season, and don’t forget to pack them when you go to visit the rest of the family!
It might be a good idea to see your dentist at the beginning and end of the holiday season to make sure your teeth are still in good shape. Enjoy this time of celebration, but never forget to keep your pearly whites safe!
About the Author
Dr. Kelly Blair owns a practice in Forth Worth where she helps patients keep their smiles intact – whether this means preventive care in the form of teeth cleanings and examinations or by repairing decayed or broken teeth with crowns and fillings. To schedule a holiday appointment or ask about emergency care, visit her website or call (817) 737-5155.