Gathering with family and friends is such a special part of this magical time of year. As you enjoy time with your loved ones, here are some tips from our Lorne Park Dental team that will keep you smiling throughout the festive season.
How festive food can effect teeth:
- Cavity causing bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugars found in iced cookies, gingerbread, candy canes and all of the holiday treats that we love. Although difficult to do, it's best to pass on, or at least limit, these tempting treats. Consider choosing the healthier options at the holiday buffet. Your mouth and your waistline will thank you!
- Holiday platters are often loaded with sticky, chewy candies like sugared gummies and caramels. These type of sweets in particular, like to cling to tooth enamel and encourage tooth decay. Eat these sparingly and along with other foods to help prevent them from sticking to your teeth.
- If you're not able to brush or floss right after eating, drinking water or chewing sugarless gum will boost saliva flow to help wash the harmful bacteria away.
- Choose a piece of hard cheese from the hors d'oeurves tray. It can help you avoid cavities by reducing the acid level in your mouth.
You and your guests will love these cute holiday snack ideas that are good for your teeth too!
How festive drinks can effect teeth:
- The high acidity level of both red and white wine can eat away at a tooth's enamel. To avoid damage, limit wine to tooth contact by refraining from swishing wine around in your mouth. Sugars, from sodas used in mixed drinks, form acids too. Beer is also acidic. Drinking water between beverages, to rinse teeth of the acids, is helpful.
- Drinks that are high in alcohol dry the mouth. Saliva keeps teeth moist and helps to remove plaque and bacteria from the tooth's surface. It also washes away the bacteria that cause bad breath. Try to stay hydrated by drinking water while you drink alcohol.
- A slice or squeezes of lemon or lime added to a drink is enough to etch away at tooth enamel. If possible, avoid adding these to your festive drinks.
- The colour in beverages comes from chromogens. Chromogens attach to tooth enamel that's been compromised by the acid in alcohol and stain teeth. Brushing and flossing before you pour a glass can help prevent stain pigments from attaching to sticky plaque. Red wine and dark coloured sodas stain teeth more than other beverages. Choosing lighter beverages will result in a brighter smile in your holiday photos.
Preventing tooth harm during the festive season:
- Don't crack nuts with your teeth - Although nuts are a healthy food choice, the hard surface of most nutshells can cause tooth and gum damage. Your best bet is to shell the nuts before snacking on them.
- Use proper tools to open packages and bottles - Gripping a gift package or a stubborn bottle cap with your teeth can cause your teeth to chip. Choose the right tools for the task and reach for scissors or a bottle opener.
- Avoid chewing on hard candy or ice cubes - This sort of crunching can lead to sensitive, cracked or chipped teeth. Whether you are enjoying a sweet or finishing the ice in your cocktail, let it dissolve naturally in your mouth. Chewing on hard objects puts too much stress on teeth.
- Say "no" to nail biting - The holidays can be stressful. Anxious nibbling is bad for fingernails and teeth. If you get the urge to chew, distract yourself for a minute or two and see if the feeling goes away. Biting hard fingernails can cause chipping of edges of teeth that are thin.
- Be aware of clenching or grinding your teeth - Holiday anxiety can cause people to clench or grind which can result in tooth chipping, headaches and jaw pain. Wearing a custom night guard can help prevent you from taking out the holiday stress on your teeth while you sleep. Ask your Lorne Park Dental team if a night guard is right for you.
'Tis the season for giving, and the gift of oral health is one that keeps giving all year long.
At Lorne Park Dental , a healthy mouth is at the top of our wish list for each of you!