No matter how hard you try to avoid it, the temptation to indulge in sweets, treats, and an extra helping (or two) is everywhere during the holiday season. And it’s okay to give into that temptation — in moderation. Team members have already started bringing in decadent snacks to share at The Houston Dentists so we know how easy it is to indulge and how hard it is to resist.
What can you do to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy during this season of excess? Truth be told, it’s quite simple but does involve you paying a bit more attention to detail. Below are the best tips we have for you:
When. It’s best to eat sweets and other treats (chips, cake, candy) with or shortly after a meal. The saliva produced during a meal increases and this helps rinse away food particles and rid your mouth of acids produced by bacteria.
Dried fruits might be a healthier option but most are sticky and will stay on your teeth longer. If you’re snacking on dried fruits, be sure to swish/drink water and brush your teeth within a reasonable timeframe.
Hard candy/nuts/ice. Be careful when chomping down on hard candies, nuts, and ice (try to avoid chomping down on ice altogether) as these can cause broken or chipped teeth. Hard candy is also full of sugar.
Opening things. Your teeth are designed to grind, slice, and chew food. They are not designed to rip open presents or tear off bottle caps. We always see more chipped and broken teeth this time of year, so please take a few extra minutes to find those scissors or bottle openers. It’s not worth the trip and the extra, unwanted cost of seeing us to fix your teeth.
Alcohol contains a lot of sugar, is dehydrating, and may stain your teeth. Those dull grey teeth in photos are not what you want to see staring back at you. A few of the best ways to help with that are to remember to swish (and drink) water while consuming and to eat some hard cheeses or veggie sticks to help keep your teeth clean. This next tip might be counterintuitive — brush and floss before you head out the door. If you brush/floss right after drinking wine/dark colored alcohol it might damage your tooth enamel letting those stains sink in even further.
Cinnamon. The smell of this spice floods our memory banks with holidays past. It also might be beneficial for your oral health. So, find some cinnamon tea to sip this season.
Tooth cleaning. Of course, you can always make an appointment to see us for a cleaning during the holidays — we’d love to see you.