The holidays have officially arrived, bringing with them the season of gingerbread men, candy canes, gum drops, and other sugary delights. Indulging in seasonal goodies may be tempting, but it is essential to keep your oral health in mind. We have compiled our top ten tips to help you maintain a radiant smile throughout the holiday season. 

Balance Sweets with Healthy Foods 

Enjoying your favorite holiday sweets on occasion is perfectly acceptable. However, balancing the excess sugar by incorporating more healthy foods in your diet will benefit your oral health. Eating more crunchy fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats will promote a clean, healthy smile.  

Avoid These Types of Treats   

Steer clear of sticky, hard, or chewy sweets like candy canes, candied nuts, and caramels. These confections stick to the teeth, elevating the risk of tooth decay. Instead, choose soft sweets that easily wash away with saliva, like sugar cookies, sweet breads, or eggnog. 

Keep Up with Your Hygiene Routine  

The holiday hustle and bustle often disrupts our daily routines, but prioritizing daily oral care is a key defense against unwelcome tooth decay. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day and floss between each tooth at least once daily. By staying true to your oral care routine, you can look forward to a clean bill of health from your dentist in the New Year. 

Do Not Use Your Teeth as Tools 

Teeth are designed for chewing food, not opening gifts. Using your teeth as a tool to tear open a shipping parcel or present can be a one-way ticket to a dental emergency appointment for a cracked tooth. It is always worth it to take the time to find a pair of scissors to open stubborn packages.  

Choose Clear Beverages  

Festive drinks are often flowing at holiday gatherings. Still, it is important to be aware that dark soda, red wine, coffee, and fruit juices are prone to staining teeth. If you are not careful with your beverage choices, you may notice the hue of your teeth changing over the season. Stick to drinking light-colored beverages to ensure your teeth stay white and bright.  

Stay Hydrated  

Between holiday shopping, decorating, and spending time with loved ones, drinking enough water may become an afterthought. Nevertheless, maintaining proper hydration is crucial for your oral health. Hydration promotes a healthy saliva flow, which helps your mouth maintain a good pH balance, wash away excess bacteria and food particles, and freshen breath. Most people should aim to drink at least four to six cups of water a day to stay adequately hydrated. 

Avoid Grazing  

While it may be tempting to snack on a cookie tray or other seasonal treats that are around the house during the holidays, resist doing so throughout the day. Each time you consume high-sugar or carbohydrate foods, bacteria in the mouth produce acids that wear down tooth enamel. To minimize the daily exposure of acid to your teeth, try to only eat foods known to cause tooth decay right after your meals. 

Make Cheese Your Go-To Snack 

Although snacking on most foods is not great for oral health, cheese is an exception. Cheese is rich in calcium and phosphorus, which is vital for bone health. Additionally, the casein and whey protein help strengthen enamel to protect against cavities. Nonetheless, it is important to choose your cheese wisely. Opt for minimally processed options like aged, soft-ripened, and blue cheeses. Beware of highly processed cheese products such as dips, sprays, and American cheese, as they can elevate the risk of cavities due to added sugars. 

Bring an Oral Hygiene Kit to Parties 

Holiday parties often extend into the late hours of the night, and the last thing on most people’s minds when they return home is brushing their teeth. However, a practical solution is to bring an oral hygiene kit that includes a toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste, and some floss to the event. You can discreetly slip away to the bathroom after you have finished eating for the night to freshen up your smile. As an added benefit, you can have peace of mind knowing you will not be the guest wandering around the party with spinach stuck between their teeth. 

Schedule a Post-Holiday Cleaning 

Even if you are careful about your oral hygiene and eating habits over the holidays, it is common to still have a little extra tartar built up on your teeth. Scheduling a post-holiday cleaning and check-up will ensure your smile is clean and tartar-free going into the New Year. Give us a call today to book yours!  

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year filled with cheer, family, and delicious treats. Getting carried away with holiday traditions is easy but remember to prioritize your oral health. By following our ten tips, you can enjoy all your favorite festivities while ensuring your smile remains merry and bright.