5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Teeth White This Holiday Season
The holiday season is in full swing, and although it looks different from last year thanks to Covid-19, some Christmas traditions don’t change – especially when it comes to indulging in festive foods and treats.
While many worry about their waistlines this time of year, we know that good oral health is equally important. But I’m a dentist, not the Grinch: I’m not going to tell you to ask Santa for a smaller stocking or Grandma for a healthier dessert.
Instead, I’ll leave you with a few simple tips and tricks to keep your teeth white this holiday season:
- Treat your teeth like, well, teeth
- Consume sugary drinks and alcohol in moderation
- Drink more water
- Be selective in your Christmas candy
- Keep a regular brushing schedule
See? That’s not so bad. But before you put me on the naughty list, let’s talk about why these matter so much.
1. Treat your teeth like, well, teeth
It seems like a no-brainer: Your teeth are your teeth, and are for eating, brushing, and flossing. But during the holiday season, teeth seem to take on the job of multipurpose tools, being used for everything from cutting a ribbon to opening a bottle of wine or beer.
Your teeth are tough, but they’re not that tough. These seemingly innocuous activities put you at risk for a change in your bite as well as chips or cracks, which can lead to serious issues that call for procedures like root canals or crowns.
This holiday season, stick to the actual Swiss army knife instead.
2. Consume sugary drinks and alcohol in moderation
Sugar is the star during the holidays, and it’s not just in your food. Drinks like holiday lattes, cocktails, or even fruit juice pack in the sugar, and the acid spells trouble for your teeth. One easy way to keep your teeth healthy on the go: drink through a straw to keep the liquid away from your teeth.
No holiday party is complete without a toast. But a few alcoholic drinks – especially Prosecco, one of the most dentally-damaging – can set your oral health back due to enamel breakdown.
If you’re looking to keep your pearly whites pearly, you’ll want to scale back on the wine as well. The acidic nature of wine can wear down the enamel, leading to possible infections and a yellow appearance of the teeth. Red wine stains especially easily, so be sure to brush well.
Because alcohol can damage gum tissue and bone, the risk of tooth loss, gum disease, and even oral cancer is increased. Which leads me to my next point…
3. Drink more water
We should all be drinking water frequently, regardless of the time of year it is, but it’s especially crucial to your dental health during the holiday season.
While drinking water helps keep your mouth hydrated, it also strengthens your teeth thanks to fluoride, which helps fight tooth decay. Plus, it naturally washes away leftover food particles and sugar, which we could all use a little help with during the holidays.
4. Be selective in your Christmas candy
I know, I know. I said I wasn’t the Grinch, but here I am, telling you to limit your candy intake. The reality is that a number of popular Christmas candies can be a dental disaster waiting to happen – and sticky candy, like toffee or caramel, are the main culprits.
Because not only do they stick to your gums and grooves of your teeth (which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease), they also wreak havoc by loosening or pulling off dental work.
Yes, they can pull off your dental work. Should a sticky candy like toffee get stuck to your teeth, it can easily remove anything from fillings or crowns to veneers.
Harder candy, like caramel popcorn or candy canes, can also lead to damage in the form of chips and cracks. In addition, when something like a kernel or peanut gets stuck between your teeth, it can lead to infection or abscess.
The good news: Not all Christmas sweets are off-limits. Consider sticking to sugar-free gum or chocolate, which melts quickly in the mouth and helps to avoid any dental damage. Sugary desserts are also fine in moderation so long as you brush afterward.
When you eat sweets and desserts, try to limit it to mealtimes. When we eat, our saliva production ramps up, which helps to neutralize any bacterial acid and rinse away leftover food particles or sugary substances.
5. Keep a regular brushing schedule
I know, the holidays are a little bit of a free-for-all when it comes to time management. In addition to celebrating, kids are staying up late waiting for Santa while parents are staying up even later to help Santa.
Our normal routines are out the window, and it’s tempting after a long day to just fall into bed, especially after a big meal with family (we’ve all been there). One night of missed brushing won’t have a significant impact on your teeth, but if you make a habit of it, your oral health will see the effects.
That’s why it’s important to keep up with our regular brushing routines if we want white teeth, even when we’re busy. Stick to brushing your teeth at least two times per day for two minutes and be sure to continue flossing.
As always, we’ll be here for you if you need us to help with whitening treatments for stained teeth. Reach out today to schedule your appointment.
For more tips on how to keep your teeth healthy, check out our Smile Guide.