This holiday season, you’re probably a little more likely to relax the rules on what you eat and drink, and even your daily routine. You might splurge on an extra piece of pie, stay up later than your typical bedtime, or spend a little more than you anticipated on gifts. We understand! There is one thing that’s easy to relax on during the holidays – your oral health. Here are a few oral health tips from our Laredo, TX dental team that you might not have considered before. They can help keep your smile in good shape, even if you forget to brush your teeth after a long day of cooking and catching up.
1. Stay Away From Sticky, Chewy Candy & Treats
Sticky, chewy treats stick to your teeth surfaces, your gums, and in between your teeth. Bacteria feed off those sugars that usually stay there even after you brush.
You’ve heard it before, but flossing is especially important if you decide to indulge in these types of goodies. It will help clean where brushing simply can’t reach.
Drinking water right after is a smart idea, too. It can help wash away the residual sugars. Better yet, swish the water around in your mouth.
And of course, brush your teeth when you’re done. Make sure your kids take this advice, too, since it’s easy to get busy and forget to check in on their nightly oral hygiene routine. You could also just choose other treats instead and avoid the risk altogether.
It’s uncommon, but really chewy foods have been known to dislodge fillings and crowns. We advise you to pick an alternative if you have any restorations.
2. Be Careful Biting Down On Hard Candy
If you’ve received a tin of toffee or old-fashioned Christmas candies (the white ones with stripes and all kinds of colors and shapes), be cautious if you decide to eat them. It’s amazing how many dental emergencies are caused by biting down on hard candy and chipping or cracking a tooth. Though Dr. Davenport and our other dentists often can repair teeth in urgent situations, we’d rather you spend your holiday vacation enjoying your family than with us!
Our teeth can take a lot of force, but they were not made to withstand unnaturally hard substances like these. So although we don’t recommend sucking on candy for a while since the sugars stay on your teeth longer, it might not be a bad idea to do that instead. Of course, you’ll want to brush after – even drink water to help wash away the sugar.
Keep in mind that although they are strong, dental restorations are susceptible to breaking under this much pressure too. We recommend staying away from chewing any hard candy if you have crowns or any other dental work.
3. Never Chew On Ice
Ice is deceptive because it’s just another form of water, right? Well, ice is still a very hard substance, so it can do the same type of damage hard candy and food can. If you’ll be drinking ice in any beverages this season – or any time, for that matter – think twice!
Help yourself break this bad habit before it breaks a tooth. You can use crushed ice in your drinks instead, if you simply like the cold sensation. You also can just make sure your beverage is in the fridge long enough before you drink it.
4. Don’t Use Your Teeth As Nutcrackers
Nuts with shells may not be as common as they once were, but they’re still enjoyed frequently around the holidays. If you or someone else is busy watching TV or talking together over gifts, it’s easy to just grab the nuts from a bowl and try to crack them with your teeth. But you might crack more than your holiday snack!
Teeth aren’t nutcrackers or any kind of tool. Accompany a bowl of nuts with a nutcracker so your family and guests don’t have to resort to using their teeth. Or buy nuts without shells, and you’ve removed the temptation altogether.
We mentioned that teeth shouldn’t be used as tools. That includes using them to open packages and wrappers when you’re unwrapping gifts. Don’t get in a hurry or caught up. Like the nutcracker, keep scissors handy and keep your teeth intact.
We Care About You & Your Smile
We hope you took away some good advice from these oral health tips, or can at least pass something along to a loved one since they’re now top of mind. If you’d like to ensure your smile stays in excellent condition for life, call our Laredo, TX dentists at 956-242-6745 (Junction Drive) or 956-517-2695 (Winfield). Our goal is to keep you and your smile healthy and happy!
Enjoy your holidays!