With holidays come all the fun foods and drinks we associate with the fall season. Most of us look forward to the pies, candies and other festive treats, but this doesn’t give us an excuse to neglect our teeth and oral health. There are some easy things we can do to make sure we make it through the holidays with a happy, healthy smile.
During the holiday season, we tend to see a rise in sugar consumption. Whether it is the candy of Halloween, the sweet pies of Thanksgiving, or the sugary drinks and snacks of the December holidays, it’s important to remember the effect sugars can have on our teeth. More sugar leads to more risk for cavities. We should also try to limit grazing as smaller doses of frequent sugar is more damaging to teeth than larger amounts in short duration. Also, be particularly careful with sticky sweets as they can stay on teeth much longer, causing more potential for cavities. We should also take the same care with any starchy foods as they have the same sticky ability for decay. Foods high in protein and healthy fats are much less damaging to teeth, so snacking on cheeses and meats can be a healthier choice.
To help limit the risk to our teeth, one of the easiest things we can do is to drink plenty of water with any sweets, and not miss any opportunities to brush our teeth. The water will help wash away the sugar in between brushing.
Alcohol consumption also goes up during the holidays. With alcohol can come dehydration, of which one of the effects can be dry mouth. Our saliva is the most important thing we have protecting our teeth against decay, so make sure to drink plenty of water with any alcohol to counteract the dehydrating effect, and always remember to brush your teeth as the last thing before you go to bed.
…and chew carefully
Also, more popular during the holidays are hard foods like candies and nuts. Take care when chewing on anything particularly hard so as not to damage teeth. Of course, for those walnut fans, make sure to use a nutcracker and not your teeth, and stick with the bottle opener for that beer or wine bottle.
The holiday season is welcome after such a long, hard and hot year. Let’s remember these few small tips to take care of our teeth, and we can all get through the end of the year with a healthy smile as we look forward to a much better 2021.
Dr. Nick is with Palm Desert Smiles and can be reached at (760) 568.3602.