Dentists know the holiday season is here when we see candy lining the aisles in all of your favorite stores. As much as adults may not like to admit it, with so many tasty treats around, indulging comes quickly and soon to follow are those cavities.
“As much as we love to see our patients, we want each and every smile that walks through our doors to be healthy,” said Dr. Tony Thomas, lead dentist at Advanced Smile Care of North Central San Antonio. Here are a few tips to keep those cavities away over the next few months.
#1 Pack a dental hygiene holiday kit
Party party party! Over the next few months inevitably, even with COVID-19 around, small gatherings will still happen. “Whether you’re with a group of 3 or a group of 10, there is always the chance you may not end up spending the night at home, especially if a few drinks are involved,” said Dr. Thomas. That’s why you may want get in the habit of packing a small dental kit. That kit should include a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash. That way you can be sure to brush after every meal, snack, treat, or drink no matter where you may be.
#2 Change your toothbrush frequently
This is especially important if you consume sweets during Halloween and the rest of the holiday season. “The more sweets you eat, the more at risk you are for plaque buildup on those pearly whites than usual,” said Dr. Tony Thomas. Plaque thrives in that carbohydrate-rich environment. In order to fight that plaque buildup, try using a toothbrush with a diamond-shaped head, because it is better designed to reach those nooks and crannies that your basic toothbrush cannot get to. Even better, try one that is powered, because these toothbrushes generally do a better job of cleaning the teeth and the gum line than a traditional toothbrush.
#3 Limit your alcohol intake
You may think every cup of spiked punch or glass of Brandy Alexander ends up in the belly, but in order to get there, that drink has to pass the mouth first. “Any drink with alcohol is likely loaded with sugar. And on top of that, so many holiday foods are loaded with sugar,” said Dr. Thomas. You may not realize that alcohol also dries out the mouth, and that can promote the growth of cavities. If are drinking holiday drinks with alcohol, try to drink a glass of water between each cocktail to help wash away the sugar, and make sure water is the last thing you drink before saying goodnight for the evening.
#4 Keep up with your dental hygiene routine
Along with the holidays come those late, night small parties or gatherings. When you get back home, you may be super tired and want to skip the brushing and flossing and head to bed. “It may be easy to fall into bed and give up that late-night teeth cleaning. But that is the last thing you want to do for the sake of your oral health, because whatever sugary treats you indulged in the night before, could still be left on your teeth in the morning,” said Dr. Thomas. Make sure you brush and floss each night during the holidays just as you would all year long. It may not be a bad idea to brush more often during the holidays especially because you are eating more sweets.
All of these tips may seem like common sense, but during the holidays, especially after all the challenges of 2020, many of you may want to let loose. But by doing so, your 2021 may not start off the way you want, with more trips to the dentist and the bills that follow.