Consider These 4 Oral Health Tips For The Holidays [Blog]
Here at Dores Dental, we understand that there’s a lot to think about during this busy season. No matter how involved your family gets this holiday, even work events, school obligations, and other social gatherings can occupy your time. Amidst all the busyness, we want to help you think about something important as you’re unwrapping gifts and spending time with loved ones: your smile.
No, we aren’t simply talking about making sure your family brushes their teeth. We’ve listed a few holiday-specific oral health tips below to help keep all of you smiling over the season and beyond. Take a look, then call our Longmeadow, MA family dentist office at 413-241-3995 for more ways to keep your smiles in great condition year-round.
Keep Chewy Treats To A Minimum
If you didn’t catch our Halloween blog on avoiding sticky, chewy candy, then you may not have considered these type of treats a big deal – or considered it at all. If you give your kids stockings or keep caramels around the house for the holidays, then think twice before buying these. We recommend avoiding them altogether and choosing something like mini dark chocolate bars instead.
The problem is that the sticky candy sticks – on your gums, on your teeth, and in between your teeth. All those sugars getting between teeth is really the biggest problem. So are molars, with all their grooves and crevices. It’s hard to sufficiently clean those areas, especially if you’re a kid who doesn’t have the brushing and flossing habits nailed down. Even adults can get tired over the holiday and skip their bedtime dental routine, or just brush their teeth for 30 seconds and call it a night.
It doesn’t take long for those sugars clinging to teeth to lead to cavities. Although we can fix the damage with a porcelain or composite filling, we’d rather you not spend time or money at the dentist when it could be spent elsewhere.
Watch Out For Hard Candy
Here’s another potentially troublesome treat. For two reasons, hard candy like toffee, peanut brittle, and peppermints isn’t the best option. First, sucking on hard candy keeps the sugars directly on your mouth for a longer time than chewing them would. Again, all this sugar exposure promotes cavities. Biting down on hard candy, though, can chip or crack teeth.
If you choose not to skip the candy (maybe your Aunt Martha’s peppermint brittle is a family tradition), then make sure you’re careful when chewing to avoid dental damage. That’s especially true if you have restorations like dental crowns. Then drink water after and brush your teeth to minimize decay.
Don’t Chew On Ice
Like hard candy, ice can cause tooth damage. In fact, we know of situations where people have “innocently” chewed on ice and ended up needing dental work. Don’t break a tooth over your iced tea! Break the habit instead.
If you simply like the cold effect, then use crushed ice instead or make sure your drink is in the refrigerator long enough to be cold. You can even keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator to ensure you always have cold water. If you just like having the ice in your mouth, try sugarless chewing gum instead.
And keep an eye out for your kids, who may have picked up this harmful habit from you.
Don’t Crack Nuts With Your Teeth
Some of you may wonder why anyone would do this to their teeth, but the fact of the matter is that many people use their teeth as nutcrackers. It’s an accident waiting to happen, and a needlessly painful, expensive accident at that.
If you still want to buy the whole nuts rather than shelled ones, or if you’ve received them as a gift, make sure you keep a nutcracker nearby. That goes for your guests too, who may want to partake but would rather not bother you for a nutcracker if you’re busy.
A related friendly reminder here: Teeth aren’t tools at all. We’ve treated patients for dental emergencies because of this. And after the holiday, you surely don’t want this added hassle or expense. So before you tear open a package on Christmas morning, go get the scissors instead.
Keep Your Family’s Smiles In Excellent Health
We hope our holiday oral health tips can keep your family’s smiles healthy as you celebrate each other’s company in the upcoming weeks. Dores Dental can provide regular dental checkups to help you along. Call 413-241-3995 or reach out via online form to schedule visits with Dr. Dores and our team.