How to Care For Your Teeth During the Holidays
Written by Dr. DeAngelis
The Holiday Season means more than taking care of your Christmas tree, shoveling snow, and warming up next to a fire. It’s also important to identify how to care for your teeth during the holidays, especially as tempting yet unhealthy foods and beverages seem to linger everywhere this time of year.
Use these five tips to enjoy the Holiday Season and stay merry without harming your oral health.
1. Be Choosey With Chewy Treats
Your mouth is filled with tiny nooks and crannies where sugar and bacteria love to hide, far from the reach of your toothbrush or floss. Certain foods make it very easy for bacteria and food debris to become lodged in these nooks and crannies. Chewy treats are some of the worst culprits!
Holiday dessert platters are often loaded with sticky, clingy treats that damage tooth enamel, yank out fillings, and encourage widespread decay. Protect your teeth by avoiding trays of chewy treats, and if you do indulge, rinse with water soon afterward.
2. Beware of the Crunch
Holiday nuts make a great source of protein, but only once they’ve been shelled. Don’t try to crack nut shells with your teeth…. Because the only things you’ll end cracking are your teeth themselves! Get in the festive mood with a nutcracker to enjoy chestnuts and other holiday treats.
The same rule goes for peanut brittle and other notoriously hard, crunchy foods. Your teeth may not be able to safely chew through those foods, so if you’re unsure, skip them altogether.
3. Stick to a Diligent Routine
The holiday season is notorious for throwing us off our normal routines. You may travel more, go to bed later, or eat different meals than usual, but it’s important for your smile to stick to a consistent dental care routine.
Your at-home dental routine defines your overall dental health and wellness. By cultivating the best oral care routine possible, you can revitalize your smile and protect your teeth and gums long past the New Year’s Eve ball drop.
- First, don’t skip brushing and flossing! These aren’t meant to be mindless activities; they’re important and strategic tools that control the plaque and bacteria in our mouth. Using the right brushing techniques helps you work smarter, not harder, during your daily care routine.
- If you already take pretty good care of your mouth, bring your oral care routine to the next level by adding a few new DIY tricks to your repertoire.
- Oral pulling is a great place to start. This ancient practice involves swishing with coconut, sesame, olive, or sunflower oil for 15 minutes, then spitting the oil into the trash. According to Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling purifies gum tissue by pulling toxins out. The powerful properties of the oils may also inhibit the bacteria responsible for cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, and bad breath.
- You can also experiment with making your own mouthwash. Essential oils like tea tree and peppermint naturally fight bacterial infections and kill oral pathogens while nurturing tissue regeneration. As a result, essential oils offer a safe, natural, and powerful way to counteract gingivitis, reduce inflammation, and prevent the conditions that plaque and tartar love.
4. Don’t Skip Your Regular Dental Exam
We all know the holiday season is a busy and stressful time, but canceling your six-month dental checkup isn’t a good idea. Every dentist appointment services a critical purpose in the long-term maintenance and protection of your oral health.
First and foremost, it gives your dentist the chance to evaluate the condition of your teeth, gums, and mouth with a comprehensive visual exam:
- Assess the gums and tongue
- Search for signs of gum disease
- Check for loose and broken teeth
- Assess the health of tissues inside your mouth
- Check your bite for alignment
- Look for visual evidence of decay
- Check for damaged dental work, such as fillings or crowns
Even with the best mirrors, this type of comprehensive dental exam isn’t something you can do at home. Only an experienced dentist can properly perform a visual exam to assess the condition of your mouth and recommend future treatments accordingly. Of course, your dentist does more than just look at your teeth. He also thoroughly cleans your mouth to remove plaque, tartar, and debris using the following steps:
- Scrape away plaque and tartar on and between the teeth
- Polish the teeth
- Floss between all teeth
- Apply fluoride, if necessary
Without a professional dental cleaning every six months, plaque and tartar have the opportunity to grow and spread until they cause gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Visiting your dentist twice a year- and especially over the holidays!- ensures that your mouth is protected from disease.
5. Find an Emergency Dentist in Carlsbad, CA
In order to really care for your teeth during the holidays, you need to have an emergency dentist on speed dial.
A dental emergency is defined as an urgent health problem involving the teeth, gums, and mouth. It’s all too easy to suffer a dental emergency, but not quite as easy to find a dentist with the hours and flexibility to treat your dental issues immediately.
As the holiday season approaches, make sure you have yourself covered for the unexpected by finding a dentist who offers reliable and accessible dental emergency services.
The following signs indicate that you’re most likely experiencing a dental emergency that a dentist needs to handle:
- Severe pain
- Infection in or around the mouth, especially with an abscess and high fever
- A cracked or loose adult tooth
- Unusual bleeding from the mouth
In many cases, seeking help for a dental emergency can save your tooth and prevent further health complications. Abscesses, for example, can spread toxic infection through the body if they’re not treated properly. Lost teeth also have the best chances of recovery if reattached quickly after they all out.
DeAngelis Family Dentistry is proud to serve Carlsbad, California with comprehensive family and emergency dentistry services. Through all stages of life, personalized dental care makes all the difference in your confidence and health. Call DeAngelis Family Dentistry to learn more and schedule your appointment with Dr. DeAngelis today.