The holidays are nearly here, and with them comes a smorgasbord of delicacies you’ve likely been anticipating all year. Your taste buds are delighted and planning to relish every moment. Meanwhile, your teeth and gums are cowering in dread of the onslaught to come.
By following these 10 simple dental tips, you can still enjoy the holidays fully without compromising your white, bright smile or the health of your teeth and gums.
1. Eat These Teeth-Healthy Foods
Holidays bring with them plenty of opportunities to reunite with friends, mix and mingle and, of course, nibble and munch.
You should definitely give yourself permission to splurge a bit and enjoy some of the decadence that won’t come around again for another 12 months. But be sure to balance that out with crunchy fruits and veggies (carrots are a particularly great choice), whole grains and plenty of refreshing water. Your teeth will thank you, and so will your wallet!
2. Avoid These Dental No-No Foods
Sticky, hard, chewy, gummy or sugary foods may be tasty as all get out, but they are no friend to your teeth and gums. That includes the ever-present candy canes, soft mint chews, ice cubes, chestnuts and other standard holiday staples.
It can be tough to say no to these traditional once-a-year treats. But if you can practice looking at a candy cane (or whatever off-limits item is in your sights) and visualizing an expensive dental filling charge instead, this can serve as a helpful deterrent while you are finding a safer alternative.
3. Stick To Your Daily Oral Health Routine
As best as possible, you should set an intention to stick to your daily oral health routine. Twice-daily flossing, brushing and gargling may not be the most fun part of your holiday schedule, but for your teeth and gums they are like a trip to Disney World as well as a get-out-of-the-dentist-chair-free card.
With just the merest bit of extra planning and effort now, you can look forward to a clean bill of dental health in the New Year.
4. Schedule Your Post-Holiday Checkup & Cleaning Now
This isn’t your first holiday season, so you likely already know just how swamped you are going to be. You probably also realize that, despite all your best intentions and promises, there will be times you won’t floss or brush or gargle or do any of the things you know you need to do to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
So be it. The good news is, you can schedule your post-holiday cleaning and check-up now, so the moment the holidays are over, you can help your teeth stay clean, bright and cavity free from day one of the New Year.
5. Drink Plenty of Water Daily
Drinking water has so many benefits, especially during the holidays when you are out and about more than ever and want to look and feel your best. For example, water can keep your skin looking fresh, hydrated and blemish-free.
Water can freshen your breath and aid in digestion and elimination. Water can also fill you up so you don’t have to add “go on a diet” to your New Year’s Resolutions yet again. But one of water’s best perks is that it can clean away freshly formed bacteria so you don’t wake up one morning with a sore tooth and an emergency trip to the dentist.
6. Never Use Your Teeth As Present-Openers
Teeth are great for many things – for instance, chewing and enunciating. But they do not make good tools. Using your teeth to open bottles, packages, snack bags and other similar activities can only lead to no good.
With time, this activity will weaken the enamel and the more fragile edges of your teeth, leading to cracking and breakage, and an expensive cosmetic repair job.
7. Chew Cinnamon Gum
Cinnamon gum contains an ingredient called “cinnamon aldehyde.” This is the essential oil that gives the gum that crisp, spicy flavor, but it does more than wake up your salivary glands. It can also hunt down and destroy cavity-forming bacteria. This is a great way to keep bacteria formation to a minimum in between brushes.
As a side note, cinnamon can also keep your breath fresher for longer, which really helps if you just can’t resist that garlic-laden dip!
8. Choose Light-Colored Or Clear Beverages
If you’ve invested time all year in whitening and brightening your teeth, the last thing you want to do is wake up on New Year’s morning and wonder why your formerly white teeth now appear to be a pale-ish pink. Yes, red wine is purportedly full of cancer-fighting antioxidants, as is the tasty cranberry juice in those New Year’s Eve cosmopolitans. But both are also potent tooth-stainers that can quickly undo all your hard work from the year just passed.
To keep your teeth as white as possible this holiday season, opt for light-colored or clear beverages. They will still be very tasty, but they won’t leave your teeth looking any the worse for wear.
9. When You Imbibe, Nibble On Cheese
Everyone loves a nip of nog or sip of bubbly during the holidays. But adult beverages are notorious for their high acid content, which over time to wear away relentlessly at your protective tooth enamel.
To cut the acid content without cutting into your fun, nibble on a chunk of cheese in between sips. In the truly miraculous nature of food science, the alkaline in the cheese neutralizes the acid in the beverage. Best of all, they both taste great!
10. Pack A To-Go Teeth Cleaning Kit For Parties
If you are like most, chances are good you won’t find yourself at home twiddling your thumbs too often during the upcoming holidays. And you certainly won’t be eager to carve out time when you do finally get home each night for brushing, flossing, and gargling.
So what to do? One of the hands-down best compromises is to pack a little to-go teeth cleaning kit that you can take to parties with you. Not only will this make you rescue-ready if you end up with spinach dip wedged between your two front teeth, but it will help you remember to care for your teeth during this particularly hectic time of year.