The holidays are right around the corner, and for many of us, that means sweets and many festive activities. Even if you don’t indulge your sweet tooth during the holiday season, chances are you eat your fair share of carbs, which can be just as damaging to your oral health. We all love to eat, and the holidays are a wonderful time to sample decadent foods and drinks with family and friends. Here are a few tips to help prevent this season’s enjoyment from turning into tooth pain and cavities.
- Do not use your teeth to crack nuts: crack any nuts with a nutcracker. Remember that under that hard enamel shell of your tooth is a very sensitive nerve running through a root surrounded by soft living tissue. If you crack a nutshell with your tooth, you chance the opportunity to crack your tooth, inviting intense pain and possibly the need for an emergency visit.
- Again, do not use your teeth to open anything, including beer bottles. Some people like to show off their oral bottle-opening skills, however this often results in pain and tooth replacement. Avoid this by carrying a small bottle opener on your keychain (it’s a pretty small investment that can save you a lot).
- If you indulge in sugary foods, eat them all at once, preferably with a full meal. This will help minimize the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the acidic after-effects of consuming sugars, and also ensures that your mouth is producing a sufficient amount of saliva to help wash away these sugars and acids.
- After eating or drinking, especially when eating or drinking sugary or acidic foods, drink lots of water, and chew a piece of sugar-free gum. This will help rub away any residuals stuck to your teeth, and encourage your mouth to produce saliva.
- Travel with a toothbrush and toothpaste, and don’t forget to use them. Thoroughly brushing your teeth as soon as possible after eating is one of the best ways to protect your teeth and gums from cavities and gingivitis.
- Limit your consumption of foods that stick to your teeth, and/or are difficult to chew. These foods tend to find all of the little crevices in between your teeth, and stay there for a very long time. If you do eat some of these foods, brush and floss your teeth right away.
- Take care of any dental care needs before the holidays. Correcting any nagging dental issues before the holiday festivities commence will help you enjoy yourself to the fullest, instead of focusing on tooth pain or a worsening dental condition.
Nobody wants to be thinking about their teeth during the holidays. Following these simple tips can help you enjoy your holiday season to the fullest, and keep dental problems at bay.