Maintaining good oral health and hygiene habits is a year round responsibility in order to avoid problems like tooth decay and gum disease. But even the most disciplined and iron clad routines can fall victim to the many temptations that seem to lurk around every corner once the holiday season kicks off, starting on Halloween and running all the way through Passover and Easter.
And while the season may be a bright and wonderful time for Hallmark and the candy and cupcake makers around the world, the most wonderful time of the year can wreak havoc on your family’s teeth if you're not careful.
5 Tips for Keeping Your Teeth Healthy and Cavity Free During the Holidays
Completely abstaining from the never-ending feast of candies and sweets at the many work, family, school, and community parties that make the holiday season fun and enjoyable would require super human strength. It is also unnecessary. Dr. Michael A. White, DDS, a dentist in Chehalis, WA offers his patients a few fool proof tips to help navigate the holiday season each year without completely ruining their smiles. With a little careful planning, it is possible to survive the holidays without gaining new cavities, while still enjoying a slice of pie or two!
- Keep track of the snacks - Similar in principle to a food journal for dieters, keeping track of daily candy and snack intake can help prevent over indulging. When the candy bowls and cookie platters abound, it can be easy to lose track and give in to mindless snacking. Paying attention and recording a tally of each snack can help keep the numbers down.
- Carry a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss - Just as with a daily oral hygiene routine, brushing and flossing after each meal - especially at the office or at a party at a friend or relative’s house - can serve as a deterrent from overeating in between meals.
- Choose a safety number - Everyone’s dietary habits and daily caloric intake varies. Even if you don’t count calories throughout the year, the holiday season is a great time to start, even temporarily, in order to help keep sugar consumption down.
- Pick your poison - Trying to avoid snacks altogether or going “cold turkey” could lead to bingeing. Making a plan and choosing one type of snack to enjoy without shame or guilt, be it a slice of pie or a few chocolate covered almonds, rather than randomly sampling on everything can help to keep your teeth healthy while still allowing for some indulgence.
- Schedule your yearly dental exam - There’s nothing like accountability to keep a person on track. Knowing that you’ll have to face your dentist is an excellent motivator to put your teeth before that second helping of Martha Stewart approved macaroons!
To learn more about keeping your teeth and gums healthy during the holidays and throughout the year, contact Chehalis dentist Dr. White at 360-748-0168 to schedule an appointment.