1. Drink Plenty of Plain Water
At this time of year, holiday treats are everywhere and it’s tempting to nibble on them throughout the day. Drinking plain water after meals and snacks is a great way to wash away the sugars on your teeth.
2. Don’t Shy Away From the Cheese Platter
Did you know that cheese has been shown to fight cavities? It contains minerals like calcium and phosphate that balance the acid levels in your mouth, which protects your enamel and kills cavity-causing bacteria.
3. Remember the Importance of Timing
Cavity prevention isn’t only about the amount of sugar you have, but how frequently you have it. If you want to have something sugary like eggnog or piece of candy, try to have it with a meal instead of sipping or grazing on it all day.
4. Keep Extra Floss Around
Whether it’s caramel corn in the breakroom at work or a cookie exchange with your neighbors, food takes center stage during the holidays. And you never know when you’ll get something stuck in between your teeth. Be prepared by keeping an extra container of floss at work and in your car.
5. Reach For the Veggie Plate
Crunchy veggies like celery and carrots are great for naturally “scrubbing” your teeth clean.
6. Use a Nut Cracker Instead of Your Teeth
Using your teeth to crack nuts or open bottles or packages is an easy way to break a tooth (or dental work). Use the right tools for these tasks and keep your teeth intact.
7. Be Careful With Sticky Foods
Pecan pie, peanut brittle, and taffy all taste great, but they also stick to your teeth. When something sweet is quickly washed away by saliva, it doesn’t have as much time to do damage. Sugary, sticky foods are more likely to cause cavities, so brush as soon as you can after having them.
8. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
If you’re away from home and can’t brush your teeth, chewing sugar-free gum might be the next best thing. By stimulating salivary flow, you’ll counteract the sugars and acids that cause cavities. It’s also an easy way to freshen your breath.
9. Save Sugary Beverages For After the Holidays
With so many extra sweets around, it’s a great time to temporarily give up sweet beverages like sodas and juice. You could even make it your new year’s resolution and get a head start now.
10. Don’t Forget To Schedule a Checkup
Scheduling a checkup is one of the best ways to avoid dental emergencies and prevent the need for major dental work. These visits allow a dentist to find problems when they’re small and haven’t caused pain yet. They’re also a chance to get your teeth cleaned so they look and feel great.
This holiday season, you can use these 10 tips to enjoy yourself, instead of spending time in the dental chair!
About the Author
Dr. Thomas J. White is a family dentist in Danville and also a native of the area. As a firm believer in the power of prevention, he always encourages his patients to get regular checkups and use simple strategies at home to maintain oral health. If you have any questions about having a healthy smile during the holidays, he can be reached via his website.