While most people worry about their expanding waistlines during the holiday season, dental health should also be a major concern. To keep your teeth clean and healthy now and into the New Year, learn some smart ways to ward off holiday dental threats.
Lay off the sweets
During the holidays, we are exposed to everything from cookies to candy canes. While it’s fine to treat yourself to the occasional confection, it’s important to use moderation. If you find yourself craving a sweet holiday treat, sit down and eat a healthy meal with the understanding that you will have a bit of dessert afterword. Usually, sugar cravings subside once we fill our stomachs with nutritious foods.
Sugar isn’t the only threat to our dental health during the holidays. Many times, people suffer cracked and broken teeth due to common seasonal perils, such as crunching hard candies, shelling nuts with their teeth, or holding items in their mouths when their hands are over-stuffed with gifts. Even one poor decision can result in lots of unnecessary pain and expenses. Play it safe by using a nutcracker, and make multiple trips from the car to the front door.
Pack a travel kit
During the holidays, people tend to travel all over the country visiting family and friends. Many times, this can disrupt their bathroom routines and leave teeth exposed to more cavity-causing plaque. If you are traveling for the holidays, be sure to pack a toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste. You should also focus on maintaining your regular routine, despite parties and the occasional late night.
When they are burdened with shopping duties and travel plans, people sometimes feel they just don’t have time to visit their local dentists. In reality, however, November and December are ideal times to schedule dental appointments for a few reasons. First, they allow patients to get maximum value from their dental benefits before deductibles reset on January first. They also allow patients to spread related treatments from one year to the next, so they can get extra financial relief without exceeding their annual maximum coverage caps.
Avoid sticky foods
Whether it’s peanut brittle, toffee candy or caramel corn, sticky foods can be problematic for teeth. Instead of giving bacteria a perfect opportunity to set up shop within your mouth, opt for snacks that won’t adhere as well to your teeth.
Get an emergency number
Since the vast majority of dental offices close during the holidays, you can’t expect to reach them if you suffer an emergency dental issue. Before your dentist closes up shop for the season, contact his or her office and ask for a referral for emergencies. Keep the phone number and address in a safe place just in case you suffer an unexpected dental problem that can’t wait.