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Posted by DentalSave on 02/21/2023

Cavity-Proof Your Smile Through the Holidays

Cavity-Proof Your Smile Through the Holidays

The period between Halloween and New Year’s can be the most dangerous time of the year for teeth. From Halloween candy to fruit cakes, egg nog and all the good stuff in between, the holiday season can create a breeding ground for cavities and tooth decay.

How to Preserve Oral Health During the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Most people know that excess sugar is bad for teeth, but it is typically not the first thing that comes to mind when reaching for a glass of wine or piece of cake at a holiday party. With a good oral hygiene routine, sampling the children’s trick-or-treating haul or enjoying a few pieces of the neighbor’s homemade cupcakes may not necessarily result in tooth decay come January.

However, with a holiday season that stretches on for months, and with so many dietary products already loaded with more sugar than people suspect, it can be very easy to lose track of how much sugar is actually being consumed.

Holiday Oral Hygiene Tips

The biggest obstacle to controlling sugar and calorie intake is portion size and knowing how much sugar is actually in a piece of food or a drink. There are also a few dental hygiene tricks that can make a huge difference. For example, waiting at least 30 minutes before brushing teeth after drinking wine is recommended to help prevent enamel damage.

How Sugar Can Harm Teeth and Increase the Risk of Tooth Decay

Like the stomach, the mouth contains many different types of bacteria that are beneficial to oral health. However, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, there are also harmful types of bacteria, which can create harmful acids that attack tooth enamel when they mix with the sugar in food and sweet drinks.

So does that mean making a choice between a few holiday treats and maintaining a healthy smile? With a little careful planning, it is possible to do both.

Be Selective With Snacking

The holiday season is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to sweets, but many people already get more sugar than they realize on a daily basis, so additional snacking during the holidays can quickly send the sugar intake overboard. A good way to achieve a little balance is to keep track sugar consumption and to be picky about snacking and flavored drinks to keep those teeth white.

If a normal morning consists of a mocha or vanilla latte, try switching to a cappuccino or an unsweetened version during the holidays. Skip the candy bowl and save the sugar allowance for dessert or the evening’s egg nog or wine.

Drink Enough Water

Staying hydrated is not just important for general health. Drinking water — especially with alcohol, which tends to dry out the mouth — helps to keep the saliva flowing. Water is also a helpful way to keep from overeating, as dehydration can trick people into thinking that they’re hungrier than they actually are.

See the Dentist at the Start of the New Year

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends scheduling a dental check up and professional cleaning every six months. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to make up for overindulging during the holiday season — and to start the new year with a clean dental slate.

With a little careful planning, it is possible to have that pumpkin spice latte and eat the cake, too.

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