Tips for Healthier Teeth During the Holidays
December 1, 2021
The holidays can either be extra-rough on your smile or a great time to boost your oral health. Chances are if you’re like most of us, you’re probably indulging in more sweets or holiday food which can harm your teeth. Fortunately, there are some simple and smart ways to adjust your oral care routine for a healthy mouth…even during the Christmas break!
#1 Pick When You’re Going to Snack and Indulge
Wondering how to maintain healthy teeth during holidays with all of these extra sweets sitting around? You’re not alone. And no, you don’t have to avoid everything for good. But what you do need to do is be smart about your snacking.
For example, instead of grazing on holiday goodies one bite at a time over the afternoon, enjoy a full serving with your meal. By limiting the window of time where you’re eating, you reduce the length of time that acids and sugars come into contact with your teeth. The shorter exposure timeframe is “healthier” per se for your teeth than smaller amounts that are spread out over a longer period.
#2 Rinse With Water After You Enjoy Your Sweets
Swishing with water right after you eat can quickly lift leftover food particles and bacteria (including their acidic byproducts) to keep teeth healthier and cleaner. Since you don’t technically want to brush your teeth immediately after eating—it scrubs the acids around—rinsing is perfect. Wait at least a half hour before you brush your teeth. As an added bonus, sipping on water frequently throughout the day is another great way to keep your mouth fresh. Tap water is best, since it has regulated fluoride levels.
#3 Use Fluoride Before You Go To Bed
Sugars and acids erode the outer layers of your tooth enamel, eventually forming cavities in teeth. But you can reverse early phases of demineralization as long as you act quickly. A fluoride rinse is one great option. Brush and floss thoroughly, then rinse for at least 30 seconds or so with an over-the-counter fluoride mouthwash. Don’t eat or drink anything afterward (that way the fluoride stays on your teeth longer.) If you’re at high risk for tooth decay, contact AlignBar in Downtown San Diego for a prescription strength fluoride gel to use instead.
#4 Chew Some Gum With Xylitol
Xylitol is a sugar substitute that physically interferes with plaque buildup on teeth. At a molecular level, xylitol prevents plaque particles from being able to stick to one another (it has to do with the carbon molecules.) When you chew gum with xylitol in it, you’re reducing how much plaque buildup you have inside your mouth. If you’re on the go during a busy workday or headed to a meeting, chew a piece of gum with xylitol in it for several minutes. It won’t replace toothbrushing, but it’s a great way to keep your smile cleaner between your daily oral hygiene routine. You can also pop a piece of gum after that afternoon holiday treat!
#5 Sip Through a Straw
About to indulge in some hot cider or hot coco? It may seem a little silly, but sipping it through a straw can help you keep your smile brighter. Since dark liquids tend to cause noticeable stain in your enamel, using a straw helps them skip right past your upper front teeth.
#6 Have Some Healthy Snacks On Hand
Make sure you’re eating healthy foods, too. Fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, and sharp cheeses are all smile-savvy foods that promote tooth and gum health. Be sure to mix them into your holiday food selection!
#7 Visit Our Dentist in Downtown San Diego
AlignBar has limited appointments available now through the end of the year. Schedule your dental cleaning and exams in Downtown San Diego before your annual dental benefits expire. Most insurance plans cover a cleaning/checkup twice a year to help promote good oral health.
If it’s been six months or longer since your last checkup, call AlignBar today to schedule.
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