General Dentistry: The 12 Best Dental Tips for the Holidays

dental tips

05 Dec General Dentistry: The 12 Best Dental Tips for the Holidays

Cookies, candy, and fudge — oh my!

The holidays can admittedly be your taste buds’ best friend. But they can also be your teeth’s worst enemy.

In fact, research shows that the majority of people in the United States have tooth decay.

Of course, cavities aren’t the only dental problem you can easily develop, especially during the holidays. With the holidays now upon us, here’s a rundown on the 12 best dental tips to protect your teeth.

Let’s get started!

1. Dental Tips Include Minimizing Treats

We know. This isn’t exactly what you want to hear.

But hear us out.

It’s perfectly fine to indulge in some of your favorite treats this holiday season. But specifically try to limit the number of chewy and/or sticky candies you consume.

Munching on fudge, caramel and toffee seem to be synonymous with Christmas celebrations. But it takes longer for saliva to wash these stickier candies away. This can boost your chances of developing tooth decay.

On top of this, stickier candies may remove or loosen dental work, such as fillings and crowns. So, it’s best to stay away from them.

2. It Takes Two

According to the ADA, you should brush your teeth twice a day, each time for a couple of minutes.

It’s the concept of two and two. And although simple, it can be a huge help over time.

That’s because when you brush your teeth, you’re removing plaque that has built up. You’re also freshening your breath, massaging your gums and preventing gum disease.

The best times to brush your teeth are after meals — for instance, after breakfast and dinner.

Also, use toothpaste that is fluoridated. Fluoride will keep your tooth enamel hard, thus decreasing your chances of developing cavities.

3. Use Scissors, Not Your Teeth

You may be tempted to bite off a gift tag with your teeth on Christmas Day. After all, it beats getting up and going to the kitchen to fetch a pair of scissors, right?

Well, not quite.

Yes, it may be convenient to simply use your pearly whites to cut through tape and string, or to get rid of tags on new clothing. But the truth is, this can cause your teeth to break, chip and crack.

So, try not to use your teeth for purposes other than munching on food. Years and even decades from now, your teeth will thank you.

4. Stay Away from Hard Candies

Earlier, we recommended that you avoid too much sticky candy. Well, you should also avoid her sister: the hard candy.

Hard candies are — well, hard. That means they’ll remain in your mouth for a while. And the longer they stay there, the more likely you are to develop tooth decay.

So, try to limit how much hard candy you consume this holiday season as well.

5. Become Best Friends with Water

Drinking fruity beverages and eggnog can certainly be a fun way to celebrate the holidays. But it can quickly take a toll on your teeth.

This is because the acids in drinks like fruit juices, soft drinks and cordials can soften your tooth material. Your tooth enamel’s minerals will dissolve as a result, thus causing holes — or cavities — to form.

So, try to minimize your intake of sugary beverages this Christmas. Your best bet is to drink more water, especially if it’s fluoridated.

6. See Your General Dentist

This is a wise step to take during the holiday season, particularly if it’s been more than six months since your last dental checkup appointment.

Maintaining routine and regular preventive oral care is paramount all year long. With the right exams, you can find out dental issues that are not yet painful or visible in their early stages.

In addition, dentists are trained to pinpoint red flags in your mouth that might indicate a disease in another part of your body.

7. Spring for a New Toothbrush

While you’re on the prowl for the perfect gifts for family and friends, it may be time for you to gift yourself a new toothbrush, too.

Your toothbrush’s bristles may become worn with time, and this decreases the brush’s cleaning ability.

Therefore, you should replace your brush every three months. Feel free to do this more often, though, if you notice your bristles becoming especially worn. You should also replace it after you’ve been sick.

8. Use a Soft Brush

When looking for the right toothbrush for yourself, search for one with soft bristles. These bristles are much kinder on the gums compared with their harder counterparts.

In addition, use light, gentle pressure when brushing your teeth. Otherwise, you’ll erode the enamel surfaces of your teeth, and your gums may start to recede.

Also, try to get a brush whose head is small. This will enable you to get into the back of your mouth more easily each time you brush.

9. Use Dental Aids

In addition to brushing your teeth each day, use dental aids, such as mouthwash and floss. When flossing, make sure that you use a gentle and slow sawing motion.

A dentist can easily tell you the right dental aids to choose for your unique needs.

10. Rinse if You’re Not Able to Brush

Sometimes you cannot brush your teeth right away. For instance, maybe you’re at work and don’t have time to brush every day after lunch.

In this situation, you can use water to rinse out your mouth. The water will eliminate any extra food debris clinging to your teeth, which can cause decay.

11. Avoid Smoking

If you have a bad habit of smoking, now is the perfect time to try to overcome it.

Smoking is not just bad for your health. It can also cause many oral care issues. You can avoid these problems by staying away from tobacco.

12. Don’t Bite Your Nails

Since the holidays may cause you stress, you may find yourself biting your nails.

The truth is, this is bad for your fingernails as well as your teeth.

Nail biting has been linked to sensitive teeth, facial pain, jaw problems, clenching, and teeth grinding. On top of this, it doesn’t bring you any true relief.

So, if you feel like biting your nails, simply distract yourself. The feeling may go away.

If the feeling doesn’t disappear, apply bitter polish to your fingernails. This will discourage you from biting in the future.

How We Can Help

We offer top-notch dental examinations and treatments, ranging from cosmetic treatment to cleanings and even dental implants.

Contact us to learn more about our procedures and to receive additional dental tips for this holiday season and beyond.

Dr. Daniel Allen

Daniel Allen, DDS has been involved in dentistry since 2003, starting his career as a dental hygienist before completing his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at UT Houston Dental Branch. Dr. Allen is a sixth generation Texan and was raised here in Central Texas. Learn more

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