For many people, the holiday season involves traveling, parties, and lots and lots of food. While you’re enjoying all that fun, don’t ignore the impact it all has on your pearly whites. Changes in schedule can impact your daily oral care routine, and eating more sweets and drinking more sugary beverages than normal can lead to problems. You don’t have to avoid all of the food and fun, but following these tips can help you maintain your happy, healthy smile through the New Year.
Watch Out for Sugar
Mom’s special cookies and other sweet treats abound during the holidays. It’s the time of year when people let themselves indulge. At the same time, soda, cocoa, wine, and mixed drinks also pose a risk for your teeth. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and can start to cause damage in a short amount of time. If you can’t bear to limit those sweets, then drink plenty of water and brush your teeth after consuming sugary treats.
Be Prepared for Travel
Don’t forget to pack compact dental care items. The smaller they are, the easier it is to keep them handy. Make sure that your toothbrush gets enough air to dry out during travel by encasing it in a cap with ventilation holes. Packing a wet toothbrush in a plastic bag only stimulates bacteria growth. If you travel by plane, then pack one set of dental items for your carry-on and one for your checked baggage. This way, you’re always covered, especially if you’re delayed or the airline misplaces your luggage.
Keep Sugar-free Gum Handy
A busier-than-usual schedule means that you might have to go longer than normal without brushing and flossing. Chewing gum can help clean your teeth during those in-between times. Although gum cannot and should not replace a proper oral care routine, it can keep bacteria at bay. Xylitol in sugarless gum helps to stimulate the mouth’s production of saliva to clean away food particles and bacteria. Keep some gum on hand, and pop a piece when you’d usually clean your teeth.
Stick to Routine
When you’re dead tired after a busy day or late-night get-together, it’s tempting to fall into bed without brushing or flossing. Do your best not to slack off. If you have children, then make it a point to help them stick to their regular brushing and flossing habits — and you brush and floss when they do. Use holiday-themed toothbrushes and floss to get kids excited about it.
Respect Your Teeth
You might be surprised by how often you use your teeth unwisely during the holidays — to open packages, tear off a piece of tape, crack open nuts, chew on ice cubes, or chomp down on hard candies. Hard objects can injure your teeth and gums or even crack a tooth or damage dental work. Do yourself a favor and protect your teeth by giving them a break and using the appropriate tools instead.