Healthy Smiles for the HolidaysThursday, December 6th, 2012, 8:19 pm
Keeping healthy during the holidays is always difficult — cookies and eggnog and parties are all around us. Keeping your smile healthy is also going to take a little bit of willpower. Those treats that add to your waistline can also contribute to tooth decay.
Holiday activities always seem designed to make us eat and drink more than we should. Schedules also get busier and stress levels tend to rise during the holidays which means that brushing and flossing may get pushed aside and the chances for gum diseaseor tooth decay increase.
Here are a few tips to keep your smile in tip top shape this time of year:
- Alcoholic drinks are highly acidic and many mixed drinks also contain sugar – this is a bad combination for your teeth because the acids soften the enamel and the sugar feeds bacteria that attack the enamel causing tooth decay. Red or white wine are also acidic. Your best bet is to stay away from sweet mixed drinks and to drink water in between your beverages to rinse the acids off the teeth. This also helps reduce the number of alcohol calories you are taking in! Both red and white wine will stain teeth – maybe this is the time to think about whitening your teeth.
- Cookies, candies and other sugary treats are everywhere at this time of year. All the sugar makes the bacteria in our mouths very happy and increases the likelihood that we will develop cavities. If you can’t avoid the sweet treats then chew a piece of sugarless gum after you’ve eaten that gingerbread man. The xylitol in the gum fights the bacteria and chewing helps wash away any little cookie bits left behind.
- Feeling stressed is common at this time of year. Relatives visiting, shopping, baking, too many activities and not enough “down time” make everyone a little more on edge – even if we are having fun. Anxiety can make us grind or clench our teeth, often without realizing it. This grinding can cause jaw pain, headaches and broken or chipped teeth. Many people grind their teeth while sleeping. If you are experiencing jaw pain or morning headaches ask your dentist to check for the signs of grinding. There are ways to protect your jaw and your teeth from damage.
Don’t forget to keep brushing and flossing every day. Start the new year right with clean, sparking teeth by scheduling a visit with your dental hygienist. Contact Wilbanks Smile Center today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your 2013 appointment.