The holiday season is one of joy, cheer, and family. It’s also a time for delicious food and sugary sweets. And when you have access to lots of yummy treats, the last thing on your mind may be cavities and tooth decay. However, you want to make sure that you are protecting your teeth before there is any damage done so that you can enjoy the holidays and focus on what is really important this time of year. In this article, we will share with you some helpful tips and tricks on making sure that your teeth stay cavity-free during the holiday season.
1. Be Choosy About What You Eat
This is the time of year when lots of sugary desserts are rampant – from homemade cookies and cake to store bought pies and candies, it seems the temptations never end!
So what is the course of action to take in order to avoid cavities? Be selective when it comes to the treats you decide to eat. As the old saying goes, “everything in moderation.” There is nothing wrong with helping yourself to one or two small items when dessert time rolls around. But keep it minimal.
Don’t indulge in something that you can enjoy at any time throughout the year. For example, if you are presented with a certain kind of store bought candy, perhaps you should take a pass on it. But if Aunt Sarah brings her famous cherry pie, why not have one small slice?
2. Timing is Everything
If you do decide to eat something sugary – and let’s face it, the holidays call for a treat or two – indulge right after eating a meal or as part of your meal. The reason? Saliva begins to be produced more when you eat and helps to wash away acid, bacteria, and particles of food.
3. Keep Water Handy
A huge mistake that a lot of us make when we are eating is to complement the meal with soda, juice, or something else that is full of sugar. Again, if you decide you want to indulge a little, moderation is a very good thing. But the best course of action when avoiding cavities during the holidays is to wash down your meals with water. Water is the best liquid that we can introduce to our bodies, and it aids in washing your mouth out regardless of what you have eaten.
4. Re-Think Sticky Snacks
Problems with cavities arise when food particles, as well as sugar, remain stuck to the teeth before we have time to brush or rinse them away.
Therefore, it is a good idea to avoid sticky snacks such as dried fruit. Fresh fruit or items that do not cling to teeth are better options for the longevity of your teeth. If you simply cannot resist a sticky snack, be sure to rinse your mouth shortly thereafter or get to the bathroom to brush.
5. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Sugar-free gum works to cleanse your teeth by producing more saliva. And, as mentioned previously, more saliva aids your mouth in keeping your teeth rinsed of bacteria and food particles. If you have wrapped up in holiday cheer loved ones, you may not have the time or ability to rush to the bathroom and brush your teeth every time you eat a meal or a snack.
Keeping some gum on hand to use after meals can make a huge difference in chasing away those pesky cavities. And gum that is sugar-free works hand-in-hand with fighting off tooth decay by not introducing another harmful factor to the health of your teeth.
6. Don’t Overlook the Effects of Alcohol
During the holidays, we want to have a great time with our loved ones and kick back a little. But alcohol is a sneaky place where a lot of sugar resides, plus alcohol can dry your mouth out. It’s a good idea to limit yourself to one or two drinks, and even with that amount, you can’t go wrong with having some water handy.
7. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Even during the holiday season, it is important to carve out the time to take care of your mouth. Ideally, you should be brushing twice per day, using mouthwash, and flossing daily. If you can, brush after every meal, but especially do not go to bed before having brushed your teeth.
Flossing once daily before bed also ensures that any food trapped between your teeth does not sit there and begin to cause tooth decay. If you plan to travel for the holidays, bring a small travel case with you that contains everything you need to care for your oral hygiene.
The holidays are special, and, of course, you want to be focused on what truly matters rather than pesky cavities. Use these tips to avoid tooth decay and create holiday memories that will last for a lifetime.
To learn more read our post: How Do Dentists Fix Cavities?