Cortney Davis, RDH
Keeping That Holiday Smile
There is a lot to be excited about and look forward to during the holidays; time with family, friends, giving and receiving presents, world peace (hopefully), service, and food. In my opinion food is the main ingredient in the recipe for a great Christmas. This time of year we are surrounded by delicious food. From holiday ham to endless desserts and treats, there are so many kinds of foods and drinks we consume while merrymaking with friends and family and soaking up as much “holiday spirit” as possible. So, eating and drinking your way through December is the norm. With all this yummy food around there is always one thing I remember to do, take care of my mouth. Yes, I admit a lot of yummy goodness goes into my overly-enthusiastic stomach, but that “gateway” needs some extra maintenance this time of year. So here are a few tips to help keep your mouth healthy for the holidays.
My first tip is to enjoy sweets in moderation. During the holiday’s sweets are serious temptations. Holiday cookies or hot chocolate may be fun to eat and drink, but can certainly wreak havoc on your teeth. Rather than preventing yourself from eating all those treats altogether, consider saving them for special parties or occasions. By controlling your consumption of these sugary foods, you can minimize the damage to your teeth.
Another effective tip that I recommend is to reduce the possibility of staining one’s teeth. Red is a festive color, and it can also cause teeth stains. There are many different foods and drinks consumed during Christmas that can stain your teeth, such as cranberries, desserts, beets, red punch, or wine. After I consume food or drink that has the potential to stain my teeth, I like to slip into the bathroom and rinse with a small amount of water to ensure I don’t end up with heavy staining on my teeth.
The third tip, which is hard for me to follow is to remember to brush and floss after a big meal. This is very hard for many (myself included) because I tend to find myself sitting down and falling into a food-induced coma. I have been known to have eaten holiday ham followed by apple cider and pie then finished it off with a pound of left over mash potatoes and after slip into a deep, restful nap on the couch. Then, I remember waking up to the feeling of gross, fuzzy plaque on my teeth, which didn’t feel so great. Leaving food on your teeth for too long can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. So remember, even if it’s flossing that extra roll out from in between your teeth just try and get as much of the food out of your teeth without waiting too long.
My final tip is to not delay dental treatment or emergencies during the holidays. Yes, we get very busy during the holidays, between cooking, shopping, going to family functions, or enjoying the holiday season it is easy to put off treatment you may need. It’s also easy to say to yourself that you will do it after the holidays. But, prolonging treatment or being late on a dental appointment could make things worse. Delaying dental treatment can cause more serious problems, and if you suspect something is wrong or have been diagnosed with something needed to be treated, it is best to get it done before it gets worse. Luckily for our patients, we still have nights and weekend appointments available during the holidays!!
I hope you enjoyed these helpful tips. I also hope everyone has a great holiday and enjoy your time with your loved ones.
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