May Your Smile Be Merry and Bright: Oral Health Tips for the Holidays

Another busy holiday season is upon us, and with it comes many opportunities to indulge in festive food, drink, and other holiday habits that are detrimental to our oral health. Of course, we want you to enjoy all that the holiday has to offer without having to worry about jeopardizing your oral health. The team of dentists at Acadia Dental Clinic in Saskatoon want to prepare you for a season of joy and bright smiles with our tips and easy tricks to support your oral health through the holidays.

1) Replace the chocolate advent calendar. 

If you and your children enjoy the tradition of advent calendars, you can still have the tradition with sugar-free surprises behind each window. Instead of sugary chocolate, your kids might enjoy finding another delight such as a small toy, a photo, a message, or riddle. Make it a fun DIY project and get creative!  

2) Keep white teeth bright with light-colored drinks. 

During family gatherings and work functions, you might be tempted by a nice cup of coffee or a glass of red wine, but these foods can stain teeth. If you’ve had your teeth whitened, keep them bright by opting for lighter-colored drinks whenever you can. 

3) Limit snacking between meals.
This can be hard with platters of snacks and holiday sweets abound, but remember that eating between meals gives sugar-hungry bacteria in the mouth additional opportunities to feed, grow, and produce acids that damage the enamel. This can lead to tooth decay. If you crave a snack, opt for something nutritious and rinse or brush right after. 

4) Don’t use your teeth as tools. 

Avoid using your teeth to open gift wrap or unwrap that pesky, perfectly sealed parcel from grandma. Keep scissors and a knife handy while opening gifts to save your teeth from wear and tear. Shelling nuts with your teeth, or chewing on ice cubes and candy canes will also increase the risk of damage to the enamel or a chipped tooth.

5) Make more saliva.
If the sight of your christmas dinner has you drooling, good! Especially if you’re prone to dry-mouth, your teeth will benefit from increased saliva flow because it contains minerals that remineralize teeth and protect the enamel. It also helps to rinse away food debris from the mouth, preventing sticky foods and sugary residues from adhering to the surfaces of the teeth. Saliva production is triggered by the act of chewing. Foods that stimulate the most saliva are crunchy, fibrous fruits and vegetables that will massage the gums when chewed. Chewing sugarfree gum can also stimulate saliva production. 

6) Sneak your sweet treats in during meals. 

If you’re going to indulge in some sugary treats this holiday season, the best time to do so is during mealtimes when your saliva production is at its highest.

7) Drink green or black tea after dinner.

Both contain polyphenols that interfere with plaque bacteria to prevent them from growing or producing acid that damages teeth. For even more oral benefit, brew your tea with fluoridated water. If you’ve had your teeth whitened, opt for green tea instead of black. 

8) Reach for the cheese between sips of alcohol.

When you want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage at a holiday party, nibble some cheese between sips – the alkalinity of cheese helps trigger saliva-production and neutralizes the acid in the beverage to reduce damage to the surface of the teeth. It’s also high in phosphate and calcium which naturally strengthen and remineralize the teeth and bones. Too much acid can wear away at enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to decay. 

9) Prepare your on-the-go oral care kit. 

If you’re traveling over the holidays, remember to pack your toothbrush and dental floss. Keeping a toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and dental floss in a pouch to carry with you when you go to a holiday party makes it convenient to clean your teeth after food and drink no matter where you are. 

10) Book your family in for a post-holiday cleaning.
After a busy season of feasts and festivities, sit back, relax and let your Saskatoon dental care team rid you of any built-up plaque and tartar from the year passed. With a post-holiday visit to your local dental clinic, you can start the new year with a breath of fresh air and sparkling clean teeth. 

The team at Acadia Dental Clinic wishes you and yours a Happy Holidays!