‘Tis the Season for Happy Smiles!

The holidays are officially here! This is our favorite time of year. Festive family gatherings, cookie decorating, work celebrations, get-togethers, school performances, and a plethora of parties – calendars fill up quickly during the holiday season. Along with the joy of celebration comes the fun of indulging in fine foods, decadent deserts, and sweet drinks…which can take a toll on your teeth and land you in the dentist’s seat.

When the days are jam-packed, it’s easy to skip an evening brushing session or munch on sweets instead of healthy snacks. The occasional indulgence won’t harm your oral health, but there are a few ways to stay in a good oral health groove during the holidays. You don’t need to give up sweets to protect your teeth this holiday season. Simply employ the following tips.

Try to enjoy sweets with a meal. If you’re going to indulge in some sugary sweets, do it with a meal instead of as a stand-alone snack. Eating other foods stimulates saliva, which helps wash harmful sugars and acids away from teeth and gums.

Limit foods that stick to your teeth. Even nutritious foods such as raisins and dried cranberries can be very damaging to teeth. Avoid consuming large amounts of these foods; instead choose food that is more easily washed away.

Limit between-meal snacks. It’s not just cakes and cookies that harm teeth – snacks like chips, crackers and pretzels all contain sugars and starches that can harm teeth. If you’re going to snack between meals, stick to veggies, nuts and cheeses.

Drink more water, especially after enjoying sweets. Avoid cleansing your palate with sweet and sugary drinks. Water will wash away stray food particles in your mouth and keep you hydrated.

Keep up good oral health habits. The holidays are usually a time of exhausting schedules, but don’t let that keep you from maintaining good oral health habits. Remember to brush twice a day for two minutes, and don’t forget to floss!

Chew sugarless chewing gum. Chewing gum helps remove food particles from your teeth and stimulates saliva production helping to wash away sugars and acids.

Be prepared. Planning ahead will set you up for success. It’s a good idea to keep a toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste and floss handy when visiting friends and family.

These tricks may help safeguard your teeth against decay. Couple them with a trip to your dentist for a thorough cleaning, and your smile will sparkle well into the new year!

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