‘Tis the season for lights and merriment, friends and family, and delicious food and drink! Though the holidays may look a bit different this year, we’ll still be celebrating safely with virtual gift exchanges and gatherings, and by choosing our holiday feasts and eating habits wisely. We’ve put together a little guideline on how to keep your mouth happy and healthy this holiday season, check it out below!
Be Picky if it’s Sticky, Sweet or Starchy
While eating nearly anything is fine in moderation, it can be tough to keep to the “in moderation” part during the holidays. Here are some things to keep in mind when assembling your holiday plate:
Sticky: Sticky foods cling to our teeth, encouraging cavities. Especially thick and sticky candies like caramels and taffy can even yank out fillings! Eat these foods sparingly and along with other foods to help keep them from sticking to your teeth.
Sweet: Bacteria in our mouth thrive on sugar-laden sweets and produce acid, which attacks our teeth and cause tooth decay (aka cavities). It helps to eat sweets with or right after meals; saliva production increases while chewing, which helps neutralize acids and rinse away food particles.
Starchy: Starchy foods (like chips, breads, cakes) easily get trapped in between our teeth. After indulging in some starchy goodness, be extra thorough while flossing later that day, in order to clean out all those food particles that can lead to plaque buildup and decay.
Teeth Are Not Tools
We all get the urge to use our teeth to crunch ice, crack nuts, tear packing tape, open bottles, etc. Fight that urge, because our teeth aren’t tools! Avoid chipped and cracked teeth (and potential crowns and root canals in the future) - use the proper tools for the job, such as scissors, a nutcracker, a bottle opener, etc. - not your teeth!
Stay Hydrated: Drink Plenty of Water
We need plenty of energy to keep going throughout the hectic holiday season, but avoid sugar-laden energy and sports drinks. Instead, drink fluoridated water to help keep teeth strong and resistant against cavities! Sipping and swishing with water after eating/drinking is also a great habit to get into, it will help rinse away lingering food debris and sugars.
Stick to Your Routine
The holidays aren’t the easiest time to stick to routines, and sometimes they even provide a nice change of pace from them. But a good dental hygiene routine is important year-round, and even more so when we’re eating and drinking beyond our usual eating habits. Brush thoroughly twice a day for two minutes each, and floss away all that food debris from between your teeth once a day!
This holiday season, be nice to your teeth - not naughty! Happy holidays, everyone!