Most of us try not to overeat or drink during the holiday season. We realize it isn’t good for us — we gain weight and suffer hangovers. While we are focused on trying to maintain our physical health, we aren’t as concerned about the health of our teeth. We might be tempted to cancel a dental appointment to free up some time in our holiday schedule. We need to remember how essential our teeth are to a happy holiday season.
The one thing to remember over the holidays is — drink water. Not to meet the daily quota of eight glasses a day, but to keep your teeth healthy. Drinking water is the best way to move food particles out of your mouth. But, there are other reasons why drinking water during the holidays is good for your teeth.
‘Tis the season to imbibe. From egg nog to hot brandied cider, there are plenty of drink options. Just remember to drink water while you enjoy your favorite cocktail. Alcohol can dry out your mouth, which can lead to tooth decay. Saliva strengthens your teeth by washing them with calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. By drinking water, you continue to cleanse your teeth until the saliva glands can catch up.
No one is asking you to give up all those carbs. They are just too tempting. Whether you like them sweet or salty, carbs can get trapped in your teeth. Drinking water helps remove food particles from your teeth without causing additional damage. On those carb-heavy days, be sure to floss to remove the food left in your mouth. They can lead to plaque buildup if not removed.
Desserts create a dilemma during the holidays. You want to enjoy them, but you are too full after a meal. So, you wait to eat them later. It’s better to eat sugary foods right after a meal because saliva production increases during meals. With increased saliva production, the teeth are protected from bacteria-generated acids that can damage your teeth. Regardless of when you eat dessert, drinking water helps clear the mouth of those sugary acids.
Dried Fruit Snacks
Dried fruit is often used as a snack or mixed with other ingredients to create a snack or trail mix. Unfortunately, dried fruit can be sticky, and sticky foods stay on your teeth longer. If you enjoy dried fruit, remember to drink water along with it, so the particles do not remain on the teeth too long. Take extra care when brushing to make sure you remove those sticky foods.
We all know candy is not good for our teeth, but hard candies can do more than create cavities. Because hard candy stays in the mouth longer, the teeth are constantly exposed to sugar. If you are someone who likes to break up hard candy, you run the risk of breaking or chipping a tooth. Who wants to end up with a dental emergency in the middle of the holidays.
As you enjoy your favorite iced beverage, remember ice is not for chewing. It may be frozen water, but chewing on hard substances can damage the tooth’s enamel or lead to a dental emergency.
Enjoy the Season
As you go through the holidays, take care of yourself and your teeth.