The holidays come with plenty of temptation. You’re surrounded by sweets, but you want to keep your healthy, beautiful smile as fresh as ever. Fortunately, you don’t have to deprive yourself of holiday goodies to protect your teeth. Just follow these seven simple smile tips as the holidays approach.
Do Call Your Dentist When Necessary
Whether you’ve cracked a tooth on a pecan or developed the symptoms of a cavity, call your dentist as soon as you notice a problem. If you need to, use our appointment concierge service to find a dentist that suits your schedule and needs, in your neighbourhood. The important thing is to get yourself into a dentist’s chair — you’ll thank yourself for addressing the problem early.
Additionally, you might consider setting up a teeth cleaning appointment during the first couple of weeks of December. If you start out with plaque-free teeth, you can indulge more often without worry. Alternatively, get your teeth cleaned right after the holidays to make sure that you haven’t incurred any damage.
Don’t Neglect Good Brushing and Flossing Habits
The Canadian Dental Association, or CDA, recommends brushing and flossing at least twice daily — preferably after every meal. Don’t let holiday parties and shopping trips get in the way of oral hygiene. Instead, leave yourself reminders to brush and floss often so that you can remove bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth as well as from between them.
Ask your dentist for help if you don’t know how to brush and floss properly. You can also follow the CDA’s helpful illustrated guide. Consider using an electric toothbrush if you have trouble getting your teeth fully clean using a manual model.
Do Choose Low-Sugar Holiday Foods and Beverages
Say no to sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, gumdrops, candy canes, and taffy. All these foods can destroy your tooth enamel and encourage bacterial growth. To keep your smile safe, choose healthier alternatives. For instance, gingerbread cookies have much less sugar than sugar cookies and snickerdoodles. Other excellent choices include oatmeal- and nut-based cookies.
Pumpkin pie proves healthier for your teeth than pecan pie. It’s lower in sugar, and it also doesn’t present a chipping hazard for your pearly whites. Additionally, when you make yams this holiday season, leave out the brown sugar and marshmallow topping. Enjoy the potatoes in their natural state or with a slice of butter.
If you’re feeling deprived, take an extra helping of cranberries. Recent research shows that they can help prevent dental cavities. Plus, they’re delicious!
Don’t Snack Between Meals
It’s easy to grab a Hershey’s Kiss or candy cane from the kitchen counter while you’re watching television or reading a book. Resist the urge. Instead, stick to a three-meal-a-day schedule so that you can better watch what you eat. Between-meal snacking can not only hurt your teeth but also cause weight gain.
Instead of reaching for the nearest goody, keep your hands busy with a holiday craft, or go outside and take a walk in the chilly air. If you’re feeling hungry, grab a healthy snack such as a cup of unsweetened yogurt or some baby carrots. Additionally, try to drink water throughout the day instead of sugary drinks such as eggnog, juice, and soda.
Do Pay Attention at Holiday Parties
When you’re chatting with friends and introducing yourself to strangers, you might absently hover around the snack table. It’s easy to grab a handful of truffles or slice after slice of chocolate cream pie, so pay attention to what you eat. When you arrive at the party, scope out the snacks and pick out healthful choices you can grab when you want to nibble.
Veggies, low-sugar fruits, and peppermint candies can sate your appetite without harming your smile. Instead of champagne and other sugary beverages, stick to water during parties. You’ll keep yourself hydrated and avoid excess sugar.
Don’t Let Visitors Cramp Your Style
Your family likes to eat healthfully, but maybe your holiday visitors have more relaxed definitions of the word. Your mother-in-law might take over the kitchen and bake tray after tray of cookies, for example. Or perhaps your sister’s kids want lots of chocolate and other candies in the house.
If you’re hosting family members or friends for the holidays, let them choose their own food. Keep plenty of healthful snacks on hand for your own family members so that you can indulge with them. If they offer unhealthy treats, decline politely and explain that you’re trying to stay healthy.
Do Focus on Fun
You don’t have to eat sweet treats to enjoy the holidays. Start planning your itinerary now. Include plenty of fun adventures that will allow your family to make valuable memories. Focus on enjoying yourself instead of chomping down on holiday treats.
The holidays don’t have to put your smile at risk. Just use these tips to get through the festivities without a cavity or other dental emergency. You’ll still enjoy yourself — but with no unpleasant aftermath.