Discover the ways in which you can keep your teeth and mouth healthy over the holidays without spoiling the fun.
The holidays are here and suddenly, at every turn there is a plate of sweet treats and goodies from the neighbour, an office party, or dinner with your friends and family. Sweets, sweets and more sweets are in abundance. It’s a busy time of year that literally eats into the time you like to normally devote to your health and well-being. But, with a little forethought you can get through the holidays with your waistline and your teeth intact.
Here are the top tips from Dr Rachel Hall Kenmore Dentist for keeping your mouth and teeth healthy during holiday parties and gatherings.
Holiday parties or dinners often have a smorgasbord of food available throughout the duration of the party. Unending grazing can put your teeth at greater risk for decay, so you may have to discipline yourself to eat only at mealtime. If it is not a formal dinner, vow in advance to limit yourself to one plate of refreshments and then walk away. Focus instead on the people at the party and engage in great conversation, which is more meaningful than the tempting apple pie anyway.
Nuts are a great snack, especially if you’re drinking alcoholic drinks or soft drinks. Nuts help neutralise the acid found in these beverages, and the calcium and minerals are great for your tooth health as well. Plus, the good fats in the nuts will help you feel full and resist the sweet temptations on offer.
Meat is a great source of protein, which can help your body fight tooth decay and will keep your teeth strong and healthy.
Instead of piling on sugary desserts, turn to fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth or skip the trays of Christmas cookies and brownies and fill your plate with veggies instead. Carrots and broccoli are loaded with Vitamin A, which strengthens your enamel, and is good for your teeth.
Is it reasonable to think you can get through the holidays without eating any sweets? Not really. You don’t have to skip holiday treats altogether. Eat a single dessert and brush your teeth afterwards. Your teeth will be exposed to less sugar if you’re eating a single treat than if you’re constantly snacking. This approach satisfies your need for a holiday goodie and reduces the risk of tooth decay – and an expanding waistline!
Hard lollies can crack or chip a tooth if you bite down wrong. This is not only painful, but it can be expensive to repair. Sticky sweets are just as bad. The stickier the sweet, the worse it is. This type of sugary lolly “sticks” around and on your teeth, increasing the chance for a cavity. Caramels and chewy candies are also notorious for pulling out a filling, bridge, or braces, and they can be worse for teeth than other treats such as cake and cookies.
Instead of stockings filled with sweets, consider eliminating sweets altogether and give the sweet tooth’s in your life some sugarless gum, an orange or small toys or novelties that don’t compromise their oral health. You might also consider giving them a new toothbrush and their own tube of toothpaste as part of their holiday loot (ok maybe that’s stretching it too far!).
Red wine can stain your teeth and will cause embarrassment if you have a red-stained smile. If the host only offers red wine, drink it with food to lessen how much of it gets on your teeth. Wine also contains acid, and puts your tooth enamel at risk, so limit drinking red or white wine altogether. Soft drinks fall into the same category of doing damage to your teeth.
Many people believe that regular soda is bad for the health of your teeth due to its high sugar content, but diet soft drinks can also cause substantial harm to tooth enamel because they are so acidic.
It’s not likely that you’ll find a way to sneak off to brush your teeth after eating in your friend’s house. A good alternative is chewing some sugarless gum. Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. Chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris. It also neutralises acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and provides disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Increased saliva also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel. Chewing gum will also keep your mouth busy, so you are less likely to eat any more food.
The holidays can interrupt your regular schedule, and at Evolve Dental Kenmore we know how much you like to keep fit and stay in great shape, so remember to take care of your smile as well as your health and social calendar. It’s still important to brush at least two times a day and floss once a day. When you eat in between meals, brush your teeth if you’re in a place where you can do that or make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
To maintain a healthy mouth, schedule a visit with the dentist. Dr. Rachel Hall of Evolve Dental Healing Kenmore says, “Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for healthy smile that makes you look young and vibrant.”
Dental cleanings should be performed at least every six months (sometimes more!) to prevent excessive plaque build-up. Left untreated, plaque can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay and the last thing we want you worrying about over the holidays is toothache.
Call to book today 07 3720 1811 and ensure your smile is holiday ready.