Whether it’s for the excitement of Christmas morning, watching Christmas movies with your friends, an extended break from working, or one of many other reasons, the holiday season definitely has a lot of fans. There are those out there, however, who see this as a concerning time of year fraught with danger – your teeth. What’s that you say? Teeth aren’t capable of independent thought? Okay, maybe you have a point. But teeth have reason to be concerned when someone isn’t diligent about their dental hygiene regimen. Your dentist in Rock Hill is here to explain the potential problems and how you can protect your oral health while enjoying holiday foods.
Traveling Can Bring a Challenging Change in Routine
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.
Beware of Constant Snacking
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.
Careful with Those Tempting Sweet Treats
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.
Following Through on a Plan Can Mean a Win for Your Teeth
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 in Rock Hill when the holidays wrap up to know for sure that your oral health is ready to tackle 2023!
About the Author
Dr. William Ross earned his dental doctorate from the Medical University of South Carolina and has more than three decades of experience as a dentist under his belt. He’s a member of the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Ross loves being able to meet a diverse array of patients and perform a variety of treatments to help them. As your dentist in Rock Hill, he will be happy to talk more about navigating the perils of holiday eating during your next checkup and cleaning. Schedule one on his website or call (803) 592-6201.