So you’ve whitened your teeth to have your holiday smile ready for your holiday party, or maybe you’ve had a smile makeover recently, or maybe, you’ve just had your dental appointment and your teeth were given a clean bill of health. . .and you want to keep it that way!
Having a holiday smile is something that’s very important to my patients. What does it mean to have a holiday smile?
For my patients, it means a bright, straight, healthy smile! At The Center For Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry, we love the holidays just as much as everyone else. And as your cosmetic dentist in Newport Beach, CA we won’t tell you not to enjoy goodies like pumpkin pecan pie, chocolate covered pretzels, or whatever your favorite holiday treat is. After all, “all things in moderation,” right?
But, the goal is to make sure your teeth stay healthy and that you keep your holiday smile looking and feeling just as healthy, even though you may be indulging more these next few weeks. There definitely are some things you can do during the holidays to keep your teeth healthy.
Sip the Eggnog at the Dinner Table
The holiday season is stuffed full of great treats, especially flavored drinks, ciders, mixers, and other adult beverages.
But sweetened and alcoholic drinks can dry out your mouth, weaken your tooth enamel, and even increase your risk of decay if you enjoy them several times over the span of the whole holiday season.
If possible, enjoy your cider or eggnog while you’re still at the dinner table instead of sipping on it for a few hours afterward. Why? Because you lessen the exposure of the drink to your teeth. Therefore, it’s not as damaging (especially if it’s being drunk while you’re still enjoying your meal). A shorter timeframe for drink consumption is less harsh on your holiday smile than if you were to have the same drink over the period of the entire evening.
Snack Once, Instead of All Day
Along the same lines of sipping vs. drinking your holiday beverages in one sitting, it’s also better on your teeth to go ahead and indulge in that afternoon snack instead of picking away at it every hour when you’re walking back and forth in your office. Why? Because every time you eat something sweet, those sugars trigger acid production when mixed with your saliva, which lasts about 30 minutes. Eating your snack at once means one 30-minute exposure…but smaller nibbles every couple of hours can mean multiple 30-minute acid sessions taking over your teeth and negatively effecting your holiday smile!
Up Your Tap Water Intake
Tap water contains regulated fluoride levels (unlike most bottled waters, which may not have any or even have an acidic pH!) Drinking it throughout the day will help rinse away extra acids and bacteria from when you’ve been snacking on Christmas cookies, baklava, or sucked on a candy cane.
In fact, if you can’t get to a toothbrush and floss after each snack, at least rinse your mouth out well with water. It can make a huge difference on the health of your holiday smile. While rinsing with water won’t replace brushing and flossing, it can help you at least minimize the amount of sugar and acids your teeth are exposed to over the holidays.
Choose Soft Over Sticky
Which is worse on your teeth? A gingerbread cookie or homemade peanut brittle? When it comes to tooth enamel, sticky foods tend to be worse, because they can do things like:
- Pull out fillings or dental sealants
- Get stuck in hard-to-clean areas
- Hold sugar against your teeth for a long time
That’s not to say all sticky foods or crunchy sweets are entirely bad, but if given the choice and you’re worried about pulling out a new dental crown, it’s best to go with something soft like a cookie instead of homemade taffy.
Fill Up on Crunchy Fruits and Veggies, First
When it’s time to sit around the table to share a feast with your family, try to fill your plate at least 2/3 of the way with the “healthier” foods, especially fresh produce. If you need to, bring a few dishes with you so that you can fill up with good fuels first, before indulging too much on the worse ones.
Snacking on carrot sticks, apples, and other fibrous veggies or fruits can help you keep your teeth cleaner throughout the day. Plus, they massage your gum tissues and deliver essential nutrients that your body needs to combat periodontal disease.
Don’t Deprive Yourself
The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed. You don’t have to bypass all of the good stuff just because you want to stay healthy or minimize your cavity risk. You can still keep your holiday smile happy and healthy by following the tips I have given you above. And just incase you need some more tips, here’s another one.
Choose when you’re going to indulge (like that office party on Friday night) and allow yourself to, guilt free. Just be sure to brush your teeth when you get home! Allowing a few cheat days as opposed to consistently snacking every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve are two completely different things.
Don’t Forget to Use Your Benefits Before They Expire!
Need to get another cleaning in before your next holiday party? Whiten before New Year’s Eve? Fill a tooth or two before your annual dental benefits run out on December 31st? Call The Center For Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry in Newport Beach, CA today to reserve your appointment. The end of the year tends to be busy, since insurance benefits reset on January 1st . So make sure to use your benefits while you can!
Also, if you haven’t already checked out my youtube channel, you’ll want to watch this video on how you can instantly whiten your teeth at home using make up!
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