The holidays wouldn’t be the same without candy canes, cookies, stuffing, and many other mouthwatering foods. If you’re not careful, you might see a few extra pounds the next time you stand on a scale. However, a larger waistline isn’t the only concern. The holidays can be a bad time for your dental health. Here are 5 tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy during the next few weeks.
1. Brush More Often
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice daily. If you’re snacking more often, strive to brush after every meal. Your teeth will be exposed to cavity-causing bacteria more frequently.
You can lessen your risk of decay and keep your breath minty fresh by brushing more often. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to clean all surfaces of your teeth. Create an oral hygiene kit to carry with you to make it easy to brush after eating when you’re not at home.
2. Don’t Forget to Floss
Your toothbrush can’t reach everywhere in your mouth, like between your teeth. Flossing removes plaque and tartar buildup missed when brushing to prevent gum disease. Floss your teeth at least once daily to keep your gums healthy.
3. Limit Sugars and Starches
Sugars and starches combine with bacteria in your mouth to create an acidic plaque that can erode your enamel over time. Your enamel will not grow back once it has been lost.
It’s best to moderate your consumption of starches and sugars to keep cavities at bay. Instead, choose plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They are loaded with nutrients and act as scrub brushes for your teeth to keep them clean. If you can’t resist your sweet tooth, brush your teeth after eating.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration can sneak up on you, which can make your mouth dry. Not only is it uncomfortable, but a dry mouth is a great environment for oral bacteria growth that can lead to odors, decay, and infections.
Healthcare professionals recommend drinking at least eight 8-oz glasses of water daily. You’ll stay hydrated to keep your mouth moist to neutralize harmful oral bacteria.
5. Visit Your Dentist
The holidays are a busy time of the year but don’t skip your routine cleaning and checkup. Regular dental care stops common oral health issues from occurring and lessens the risk of a dental emergency interrupting your holiday plans. Your dentist will ensure your pearly whites are clean and healthy.
You’ll head into the new year with a healthy, beautiful smile by giving your mouth a little extra attention during the holiday season.
About Dr. Chris J. Devlin
Dr. Devlin achieved his dental degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and has regularly continued his education. He is affiliated with the Dawson Academy, the Pankey Institute, and The Society of Dental Anesthesiology. Request an appointment through his website or call (814) 808-4125.