Each year we look forward to our favorite holiday eats and treats. Spanning from Thanksgiving to Christmas, it’s tradition to feast on roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. We wash it all down with apple cider or perhaps a glass of eggnog. While it’s perfectly fine to indulge during the holidays, you’ll want to make sure that you begin the new year with a clean bill of health. Start by keeping your oral health in check throughout the holiday season.
1. Brush After Meals
Good oral hygiene is important throughout the year, but even more so during the holidays. With a larger abundance of cakes, cookies, and other sugary treats in range, you’ll likely be spoiling yourself with tasty treats. After enjoying a gingerbread man or piece of pie, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to remove food particles and reduce your risk of tooth decay. Whenever possible, brush immediately after eating, especially if you’ve consumed high-sugar snacks.
2. Steer Clear of Temptations
It can be hard to maintain willpower when there are temptations all around you. If you have a difficult time staying away from holiday sweets, avoid situations that could persuade you to abandon your self-control. This could mean getting out of the kitchen or dining room where holiday foods are plentiful. If you’re not around food, you’ll be less tempted to sample the dishes around you. You may also want to avoid places where unhealthy snacks are plentiful, such as certain stores or restaurants.
3. Floss Daily
Flossing is more important than ever during the holiday season. Unfortunately, only four in 10 Americans floss at least once a day and 20 percent report to never flossing. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the season prevent you from flossing regularly. It’s best to floss at least once a day, preferably before bedtime. If you’re constantly on-the-go during the holidays, keep some floss picks in your purse or wallet for flossing after meals. If you don’t have access to floss, chew sugar-free gum to help reduce plaque until you can properly brush and floss.
4. Swish with a Mouthwash
Mouthwash is a highly-effective oral hygiene product that is often disregarded. A good mouthwash will not only freshen your breath (which is essential for trips under the mistletoe) but will also improve your overall oral health. Mouthwash helps prevent plaque buildup in-between teeth, on your gums, and on tooth surfaces. It’s also effective at removing food particles and debris that you missed while brushing. Regular use of a fluoride mouthwash can also reduce the risk of a cavity formation by strengthening your enamel.
5. Don’t Over Indulge
When you consume sugary foods or beverages, the naturally-occurring bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar, creating acids that attack tooth enamel. Snacking throughout the day can drastically increase your risk of developing cavities and gum disease. While brushing and flossing can reduce bacteria, it’s important not to overindulge on unhealthy holiday dishes. Balance out the sweets with other healthier foods to lessen the negative impact on your teeth. Also avoids sticky foods that cling to teeth, such as caramels.
Give yourself the gift of a beautiful smile this holiday season. This can be achieved by brushing and flossing regularly, practicing smart oral hygiene tips, and visiting your dentist at least twice a year.