As your year-round partners in oral and holistic health, Natural and Cosmetic Dentistry in Clearwater, Florida, strives to keep the fun in this festive holiday season. Our patients’ oral care is often challenged by the onslaught of tempting treats and commitments competing for their precious time. Dr. Beata A. Carlson and Associates appreciate the challenges to healthy smiles accompanying this “most wonderful time of year.” Here are a few friendly reminders to keep the cheer in the holidays:
- Exercise moderation with the “naughty list” of foods. Generally, those foods and beverages like sugary, sticky, and crunchy candy canes, caramels, peanut brittle, popcorn balls, fruitcake, cookies, and taffy are “naughty” for your teeth, gums, braces, and dental work. Go ahead, enjoy! But don’t overindulge. Sugars are one of the biggest culprits of dental decay, a leading cause of tooth loss. Bacteria feed on the sugar in these goodies and promote the production of harmful acids and plaque. In addition, many of these seasonal goodies are also hard and chewy. Nothing puts a damper on the holidays like fractured teeth, cracked crowns, and broken braces.
- Reach for treats on the “nice list.” Fortunately, many holiday staples are good for your teeth! For instance, the dairy featured in cheeseballs or charcuterie boards has cavity-fighting properties. Minerals in cheese, such as calcium, help to promote a healthy pH balance in the mouth. They also help keep the protective enamel strong and produce a natural cleanser: saliva. Other tooth-friendly, nutrient-rich options include nuts, cranberries, and fibrous (cleansing) fruits and veggies (like apples, carrots, and celery)
- Mind decay-fighting habits and behaviors. Naturally, it is essential to maintain good brushing and flossing habits. When you can’t get to the toothbrush right away, rinse your mouth regularly with water while indulging in sweets. Acids attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes after consuming sugary snacks. So, “chasing” with water helps to cleanse the teeth and protects the teeth from sustaining the full destructive effects of these acidic seasonal delights. Limiting snacking and trying to eat as many of these treats as possible with your meal is also a good practice. Why? When eating meals, saliva is produced that helps to wash away the ingredients in these treats that tend to “stick around” and linger on the teeth.
- Take a step back. Breathe! Keep your stress in check. Now is an important time to assess what matters and to assess your self-care consistently. Notably, many behaviors that adversely affect the health of your mouth and interconnected tissues are associated with emotional distress. They include teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching. You may notice episodes of chronic bruxism become more severe during the holidays. You may experience more frequent headaches, jaw pain, and other disruptive symptoms. Be intentional about relaxation techniques. Have our team check on the condition of your night guard, or chat with us about customizing a protective oral splint or “guard” to your mouth. These steps can minimize TMJ symptoms and prevent damage to the teeth, such as chips and fractures
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