It’s the most wonderful time of the year — but for your smile, it’s also one of the most damaging. Hard, sticky treats, increased travel, and a break from the routine put your teeth and gums at a greater risk of developing decay and infection. Have you put a game plan in place for keeping your smile healthy this month? Dr. Kutis, the dentist Littleton trusts, has some holiday dental hygiene tips.
#1: Avoid Constant Snacking
Maybe it’s something you try to steer clear of year-round, but with sweet treats all around you this month, it’s especially important that you avoid mindless snacking throughout the day. It’s not just for a trimmer waistline. Because your mouth does not produce as much saliva during a small snack as it would for a complete meal, more of the sugars and acids are left behind after your peppermint patty or iced sugar cookie. That puts your teeth and gums at a far greater risk of developing decay. But don’t give up the treats completely — instead, eat them with a meal, while your mouth is plenty hydrated and better able to clean up after itself.
#2: Watch Out for Hard, Crunchy, Sticky Foods
Holiday peanut brittle, Christmas toffee, bright red candy apples — they may taste like the season, but they make your risk of experiencing a holiday dental emergency skyrocket. If you can’t make it through the holidays without them, take small bites and chew carefully. And do be prepared to call your emergency dentist if you or someone you love experiences a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth.
#3: Keep Your Smile Bright
Highly acidic and pigmented foods and beverages gradually darken your tooth enamel. To keep your teeth white, try sipping a glass of water between glasses of mulled wine, or crunch on a piece of celery or carrot to naturally scrub away staining agents. And brushing your teeth before highly acidic or pigmented beverages is actually better than after — it removes the plaque that pigments cling onto.
#4: Don’t Break Your Routine
Keeping your teeth and gums clean is all about routine. But in the middle of holiday travel and a long list of parties and engagements, it’s all too easy to forget about your good dental hygiene habits. Flossing is frequently lost in the mix. So set a reminder on your phone, throw an extra pack of floss or toothbrush in your bag, whatever it takes to stay in the habit. Commit to staying on track during December and begin the new year with healthy, sparkling teeth.
#5: Schedule a Post-Holiday Checkup and Cleaning
After all the celebrating is over, check to make sure you’ve sailed through the holiday season without putting your smile in harm’s way. During a preventive checkup and cleaning, Dr. Kutis and her team will remove the plaque and tartar that have accumulated since your last visit, and check to make sure your teeth and gums are as healthy as ever. Ring in 2017 the right way — with a healthy, beautiful smile! Request an appointment online today.