Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is the ultimate Christmas classic – it’s been a holiday favorite of children and adults alike over the decades and is still going strong. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 50 years, the Grinch is a miserable hermit that hates Christmas and hates the Whos in Whoville, so he hatches a plan to steal Christmas from them.
Luckily there is no Grinch to steal Christmas from us, but you know what can? Dental problems. The holidays are full of eating, drinking and being merry, and that merriment will be stolen away if you are suffering from a toothache, cracked tooth or gum disease.
Here are 5 tips to help you keep dental problems from ruining Christmas this year:
Limit sweets and candy. The temptation is REAL during the holiday months. We know this. It’s okay to indulge, just remember that moderation is key. Plaque feeds on sugar, so the more sugar that enters your mouth, the higher the risk of tooth decay. So go ahead and indulge here and there, but make sure to brush and floss afterward!
Use tools, not your teeth. Your teeth are for chewing your food: they are NOT for opening bottles and pulling off tags! If we had a nickel for every broken tooth we’ve fixed solely based on this reason, well … we’d have a lot of nickels.
Say no to grazing. Most holidays involve a lot of food: Snacks swarming the counters and appetizers abound! Not to mention all the wines, punches, sodas, cookies, candies and desserts. The longer and more often your teeth are exposed to the sugars and acids in food and drinks, the higher the risk of tooth decay. Instead of grazing and snacking your way through the office holiday party, just eat once. Don’t wait an hour and then eat dessert. Don’t snack on appetizers randomly for the length of the party. Whatever you plan on having – appetizer, entrée, dessert, punch, etc. – consume it all in one sitting. That way your teeth only take a sugar hit once, and you can counteract it with a good brush and floss.
Pro-tip: cheese is good for your teeth! The calcium in cheese helps put back minerals your teeth may have lost eating other foods, so you can’t go wrong snacking on the cheese tray!
Maintain a good oral hygiene routine. At the end of the day, one of the most important parts of avoiding dental problems is good oral hygiene. Brush for two minutes, twice a day and floss once a day. Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can also help keep harmful bacteria at bay.
Visit your dentist. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never had a dental problem in your life, or if you’ve had multiple dental problems: everyone should see the dentist for a checkup and professional cleaning every 6 months. A professional cleaning is a much more thorough cleaning than what you are able to do at home. It will knock out any hard-to-reach plaque and tartar buildup. Your dentist can also check for overall health and any dental issues that may be invisible to the untrained eye.