The Holidays are a wonderful time of the year and no time for emergency trips to the dentist. Certain foods and drink, holiday stress and other holiday related factors can be harmful to your dental health. Give yourself the gift of a healthy mouth this holiday season by following these tips:
Avoid sticky foods – Traditional candies and other sugary treats like cookies and cakes are prevalent during the holidays. If you can pass on the sticky treats as they cling to your teeth and contribute to tooth decay and could potentially yank out fillings when they are being chewed. If these type of sweets are too hard to resist, eat them along with other foods, rinse with water or chew a stick of sugar-free gum afterword which will produce extra saliva to help wash the sticky substances away.
Your teeth are not a holiday tool – Nuts in the shell are another traditional holiday food and your teeth were not made for shelling them. Cracking nuts with your teeth can cause serious tooth and gum damage or crack your teeth along with the nut.
Another temptation during the holidays is to open packages, wrapping or bottles with your teeth. You are far better off taking the time to find those scissors or an opener before injuring your teeth. The same thing goes for chewing hard candy and ice cubes, which puts undo stress on your teeth. Cracked or chipped teeth are painful and can be very expensive to treat.
Enjoy your wine, but carefully – Alcoholic beverages are all a part of holiday celebrations and consumed more frequently during the season. Both red and white wines are high in acidity, which leads to a breakdown in the surface enamel of your teeth, which is essential to protect your teeth from decay and cavities. When drinking wines, avoid swishing the liquid around your mouth and drink water between drinks to help rinse away the acids. This is especially helpful to avoid red wine staining your smile.
Holiday stress hurts your mouth – The holiday season can be full of anxiety and stress with the many preparations, overbooked schedules and out of the ordinary situations. Stress and anxiety can cause you to clench your teeth, which causes jaw pain, headaches and even chipped teeth. Concentrate on relieving your stress over the holidays but if that does not help see your dentist who can provide you with other solutions like a night guard to protect your teeth.
Nail biting is also a product of stress and causes damage to both teeth and fingernails. If the habit does not improve with stress relief, products such as a bitter tasting nail polish when applied will dissuade you from putting your fingers near your mouth.
Keep these important tips in mind and be nice – not naughty – to your teeth and smile this holiday season. Holiday schedules are always busy this time of year and an unscheduled trip to the dentist is the last thing you need. However should an urgent dental health issue occur contact Scott Finlay DDS & Associates anytime, and our answering service will assist you with your emergency.
Happy and Healthy Holidays from all of us !