The holiday season is a time for spending time with loved ones and celebrating. However, all those parties and treats can wreak havoc on your mouth.

Try these holiday dental tips to maintain your oral health throughout the holiday and into the new year.

Please remember this article is general education and not a substitute for professional dental care.

Top Holiday Dental Tips

Congratulations on deciding to enjoy the holiday season with good oral health. Simple strategies like practicing moderation and prioritizing your dental hygiene will help you face the new year with a glowing smile. Follow the below-mentioned holiday dental tips.

Don’t Neglect Your Routine

For many people, it is easy to stray from routine oral hygiene during the holidays. Make it your priority to continue:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day (or as recommended) using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Use a toothpaste containing fluoride.
  • Floss daily.

Make an extra effort to focus on oral hygiene now for a radiant smile on New Year’s Day and beyond.

Be Strategic When/If You Eat Sweets

As dental professionals, we urge you to limit or avoid sugary foods. The acids resulting from consuming sugary food and beverages cause cavities. However, if you indulge, try to do so during meal times before you brush your teeth. Having a candy cane after dinner and before brushing is better than slowly sucking on one all afternoon.

The following holiday dental tips outline some of the foods to limit or avoid.

Avoid or Limit These Foods

  • Hard candies like candy canes and chewy candies.
  • Dried fruit is sticky, chewy, and contains more sugar than you would expect.
  • Other sugary and sticky foods.
  • Potato chips or other starchy snacks.
  • Sodas and other carbonated drinks are acidic.
  • Other acidic drinks like coffee, tea, and wine.
  • Chewing ice can increase the risk of damage to the teeth and wear down the tooth enamel.

Some very healthy foods can damage the teeth. Some examples include acidic vegetables and fruits like tomatoes and citrus fruit. You don’t need to cut them out of your diet completely. Just be aware and limit them to times when you can brush your teeth shortly afterward, as suggested.

Make Healthy Choices

Many holidays treats potentially damage the teeth and gums. Acidic, starchy, and sugary drinks or foods are the top culprits. Consider reaching for tooth-friendly foods when socializing like crudites, apple slices, cheese, and nuts.

When they focus on these treats while limiting sugary and acidic foods, some patients find that they avoid holiday weight gain and cavities.

Sip Plain Still Water

A glass of cold water is delightfully refreshing. If you are at a party where you might indulge in wine or eggnog, consider alternating those treats with a glass of still water.

You may even discover you prefer to drink water rather than that extra glass of wine. This also has the added benefit of reducing the risk of a headache and cutting down on the consumption of extra calories.

Remember Your Teeth Are Not Tools

Sometimes when people are in a hurry, they are tempted to use their teeth as tools to open presents, bottles, or packages. Please avoid doing this as it is an unnecessary risk resulting in cracks, chips, or other damage to the teeth.

By all means, avoid using your teeth as a nutcracker. Nuts are healthy and festive treats. Just use a beautiful nutcracker.

Along the same line, avoid biting your nails. This isn’t exclusive to the holiday season, but nail-biting is a nervous habit for many people, and holiday festivities can trigger stress. If social events and celebrations make you feel a little anxious or uneasy, spend time practicing calming self-care before your event.

If you happen to be a nail biter, consider the following holiday dental tips and tactics:

  • Learn stress management techniques like breathing exercises or meditation. This may also help decrease tooth grinding.
  • Give yourself a manicure or get one at a salon. When your nails look attractive, you might not want to bite them.
  • Stay busy; when your hands are busy, you may be less tempted to bite your nails.

Structure Socializing Around Activities Whenever Possible

Many holiday festivities revolve around enjoying decadent treats or drinking. When you plan to get together, consider planning activities like a walk outside, ice skating, board games, or tree decorating.

Your friends and family may enjoy the opportunity to spend time with you without loading up on sweet treats.

Wear a Mouthguard

There are two times when you might want to wear a mouthguard:

  • During sports like ice skating, hockey, or contact sports.
  • If you grind your teeth at night, consider wearing a mouth guard to prevent that.

Protecting your teeth from the risk of damage from accidents or chronic grinding is a great move no matter what the season.

Consider Your Oral Health When making New Year’s Resolutions

Are there any aspects of oral health where you are inconsistent? Perhaps addressing that might be an excellent New Year’s Resolution. For example, if you only floss a few times a week, you may aim to floss daily as recommended.

Other oral health-related resolutions might include:

  • Cutting down on coffee or other tooth-staining drinks.
  • Drink more water.
  • Eat more fresh vegetables.
  • Cut down on sugar and starchy treats.

Schedule Your Cleaning and Examination

Consider scheduling your dental cleaning and examination early in the new year after the holidays end if you are due for a cleaning. Perhaps think of it as a spa day for your mouth. There is no need to force an appointment if you had one just before the holidays, as you want to follow your recommended plan.

We wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season.


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Author: Southview Dentistry