The holidays are a time to relax and have fun—but that doesn’t mean you should forget about dental hygiene. Otherwise, you’ll have to get a crown or filling when you get back. Caring for your teeth reduces the risk of dental emergencies, eases tooth pain, and eliminates the plaque, sugar, and bacteria that linger on your teeth. You don’t have to skip your favorite foods and snacks—just eat responsibly so you can enjoy holiday dinners without compromising your health.
How to Care for Your Teeth During the Holidays
Before you leave for your holiday trip, schedule a cleaning at Lexington Family Smiles to prepare your teeth for drinks and sugary snacks. Afterward, follow these tips to maintain your dental hygiene.
Add an Extra Brushing and Flossing
During the holidays, you consume more sweet and fattening foods than normal. You might eat multiple dinners in one day when you visit your extended family. Food particles get trapped in your mouth and start to eat away at your enamel. At the end of the holiday season, you find a cavity or notice that your infected tooth is getting worse.
Adding an extra brushing to your already two times a day routine may sound like overkill, but it protects your teeth. Surgery and fatty foods tend to make you crave more food. Brushing and flossing your teeth can break the craving for more fatty foods.
Schedule a Post-Holiday Cleaning
After the holidays, visit your Lexington dentist for a cleaning. You might not see the plaque on the surface, but even if you brushed your teeth regularly, bacteria gather in hard-to-reach areas. A general dentist cleans, polishes, and flosses your teeth to eliminate plaque that built up over the holidays.
If you have a cavity or tooth decay, schedule an appointment immediately after the holidays. In fact, make a New Year’s resolution to visit your dentist regularly. Most insurance plans cover cleanings, and you’ll prevent issues before they begin. No need to dread a visit to the dentist because you need a root canal.
Avoid Sweets and Sugary Drinks
Holiday dinners come with soda, fruit punch, sweetened tea, and coffee. Cookies, pastries, and brownies appear after every meal, and no one leaves without a slice of pumpkin pie. You don’t have to eliminate sweets altogether, but enjoy them in moderation. Sugar creates acid in your mouth that leads to tooth decay.
When you consume sweets, brush your teeth as soon as possible. Brushing your teeth often might be inconvenient, but it protects your teeth so you can enjoy sweets for years to come. You’ll also freshen your breath and clean unsightly particles off your teeth.
Limit Your Wine Intake
Enjoy the occasional glass of wine with your meals, but don’t overdo it. Pigments in red wine stick to your teeth, staining the enamel. White wine is high in acid that wears away the enamel on your teeth. Surprisingly, brushing your teeth after drinking wine makes it worse—the brush might damage your weakened teeth.
Wait at least 30 minutes after your last drink to brush your teeth. In the meantime, drink plenty of water to wash the stains off your teeth without damaging the enamel. Drinking water also increases saliva production, which removes acid from your teeth. You could also brush your teeth before you drink—this keeps the wine from sticking to the plaque.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water prevents cavities and tooth decay. When you drink water, you wash away the food, particles, and stains that accumulated on your teeth. Water washes away bacteria and dilutes the acid in your mouth, reducing your risk of tooth decay. If you drink tap water with fluoride and calcium, you’ll get added protection for your teeth.
Water also keeps you hydrated during the holidays. As you rush to different houses, you might subsist on a diet of soda and eggnog. Drinking water increases saliva production, keeps your body functioning, and prevents digestive issues like indigestion.
Handle Emergencies as Soon as Possible
If your teeth crack or break, don’t wait until the holidays end to visit a dentist in Lexington. A cracked tooth has sharp edges that could cut the inside of your mouth. More importantly, tooth decay and cavities eat away the enamel, exposing the roots underneath. A lost crown exposes damaged bone and nerves and potentially leads to an infection.
Schedule an appointment as soon as possible when you have a dental emergency. A dentist will fix the issue as quickly as possible so you can resume your holiday activities. After all, it’s hard to enjoy the holidays when you have a sore tooth that hurts every time you eat.
Bring Travel-Sized Products
As you pack your bags, add travel-sized toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss to your suitcase. Bring enough that you can brush your teeth at least two times a day and possibly three. Oral health might seem like a minor concern, but if you suffer from a dental emergency while you’re far from home, you’ll have to find a dentist or suffer until you get back.
When you travel with family members, remind them to brush their teeth throughout the trip. People, including adults, mimic the behavior that they see in friends and relatives. This also holds you accountable for your dental hygiene.
Serve Healthy Foods
When your guests arrive, serve healthy food along with sweets and hearty dishes. Not all your guests eat fruit and vegetables but keep healthy snacks available for yourself and health-conscious individuals. Raw vegetables wear plaque off your teeth and provide a healthy alternative to chips and pretzels. Fruit, nuts, and leafy greens build strong teeth and stimulate saliva protection.
In addition to raw fruit and vegetables, serve nutrient-rich dishes with ingredients like cheese, salmon, and onions. These ingredients have vitamins that strengthen your bones and kill bacteria in your mouth. Plus, lighter dishes won’t cause weight gain during the holiday season.
Schedule an Appointment with Lexington Family Smiles
Enjoy the holidays by scheduling an appointment with Lexington Family Smiles before you leave. We offer cleanings, fillings, crowns, implants, X-rays, dentures, bridges, tooth removal, and cosmetic dentistry so you can surprise your family members with a mouth full of white, shining teeth. Other services include cancer screenings and sleep apnea treatments for overall health and wellness.
Currently, we’re accepting appointments from new and returning patients. Fill out the form on our website to request an appointment. Our office will get back to you to schedule your appointment and talk about what you can expect from your visit. To save time, download the new patient forms on our website and bring the completed forms when you arrive.