If you asked 1000 people to name their favorite part of the holidays, many of them would probably say, “The food!” Unfortunately, however, all the delicious cakes, cookies, and eggnog can really do a number on your teeth. And the last thing you want to do over the holidays is make an unexpected trip to a dentist in McKinney. But don’t worry – with the 7 tips below, you can fully enjoy this time of year without putting your oral health at risk. After all, who says you can’t have your holiday cake and eat it, too?
1. Reach For the Foods That Benefit Your Smile
It’s easy to focus on the holiday foods that damage your teeth, but there are also a few foods that can keep them healthy. If you’re at a holiday party, reach for the veggie platter in between sweet treats. Crunchy options like carrots and celery are an especially good choice because they’ll naturally “scrub” away plaque. You can also enjoy a piece of cheese (or two). With minerals like calcium and phosphate, cheese counteracts cavity-causing acids and bacteria.
2. Keep Snacking and Sipping To a Minimum
Sure, the overall amount of sugar you have is certainly a factor in your risk of getting cavities. But the frequency of sugar exposure is equally important. Remember the phrase, “Sip all day, get decay” as a reminder to have something sweet within a short timeframe rather than snacking or sipping on it all day.
3. Hydrate With Plain Water
Instead of increasing your sugar consumption by drinking sodas or juice, make plain water your usual beverage of choice. That way, you can enjoy the occasional cider or eggnog without guilt.
4. Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools
Keep in mind, teeth are for chewing, not cracking nuts or opening bottles and packages. To minimize the chance of chipping your teeth or dental work, be sure to use the right tool for the job.
5. Keep Sugar-Free Gum On Hand
When you’re on the go, chewing a piece of sugar-free gum is a great way to prevent cavities. It stimulates salivary flow, which not only washes away plaque and food debris but also neutralizes sugars and acids.
6. Be Careful With Sticky Treats
The holidays are filled with sticky foods. And the longer something stays on your teeth, the more damage it can do. When you have something like caramel corn, toffee, or pecan pie, try to brush as soon as possible.
7. Get a Checkup and Cleaning
Finally, there are multiple good reasons to schedule a checkup and cleaning. First, having your teeth polished will help them look great for holiday parties. And since these visits allow a dentist to find problems before they’ve become painful, you’ll also avoid dental emergencies like unexpected toothaches.
The holidays only come around once a year. With these 7 tips, you can have all your favorite foods, without worrying about cavities!
About the Author
Dr. Rana Lee is a family dentist in McKinney with nearly 25 years of experience and a graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry. She wants everyone to have a happy holiday season and always gives her patients tips to enjoy themselves healthfully. If you have any questions about your smile over the holidays, she can be reached via her website.