As “that time of year” creeps around the corner, Pro Health Dental thought we’d share some tips for taking care of your teeth during what many consider their oral health off season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas make up a tooth terror trifecta during a year’s fourth quarter, so it’s important to keep your brushing and flossing game consistently strong.
No matter how much you love Pro Health Dental, we probably don’t top the list of people you want to spend quality time with over the holidays. Follow these five tips to steer clear of emergency trips to the dentist’s office this season.
First, don’t crack nuts or open bottles with your teeth.
We know that lots of protein can be found in nuts. This helps keep muscles and bones strong, but it does a number on your teeth, putting stress on them. The hard surface of most nutshells and even the fruits (or nuts) of your labors (think almonds) will undoubtedly cause tooth and gum damage, which may even result in cracked teeth. Instead, opt for almond or cashew butter, or at the very least choose the sliced or chopped variety of your favorite nuts, because it takes all that undue stress away from your teeth.
Using proper tools to open packages and bottles will save your teeth as well. Gripping a package or stubborn bottle cap with your grill can do some serious damage, possibly so much that you’ll need a root canal or crown.
Second, say “nay” to chewy treats.
Holiday candy platters and having free reign over a Halloween bag can do much harm to your teeth. Sticky, sugar-loaded substances like caramel and taffy will cling to tooth enamel and promote tooth decay, in some cases yanking out fillings entirely. If you choose to eat these sweets, do so sparingly. Make sure to brush your teeth no sooner than 20 minutes after enjoying these treats.
Third, avoid chewing hard candy and ice cubes.
You’d be surprised how many patients we see who ignore this obvious rule. Save time and money by doing away with chewing hard foods and candies altogether. Get your sugar fix from dark chocolate, it’s healthier for you than other options. Otherwise, just be patient and let your candy and ice cubes dissolve naturally.
Fourth, quit with the nail biting.
We know that the holidays can be stressful, which is the exact opposite effect they’re meant to have. Spending time with sides of the family you’ve relinquished to desert islands of your mind can cause anxiety, at which point many find themselves succumbing to nervous tics. Anxious nail nibbling is bad for your cuticles and for your teeth. This dirty little habit is also linked to teeth grinding (bruxism), clenching, and jaw problems like TMJ. If you get a sudden urge to chew, try to distract yourself for a minute or two. See if the feeling goes away. If the urge persists, try using clear, horrible-tasting nail polish to deter you. If this still doesn’t work, it may be time to try a hypnotist!
Lastly, Visit Pro Health Dental Over the Holidays
Your best line of defense will always be your friendly neighborhood dental specialist in Mission Viejo, CA. Keep your bi-annual visits with us and we’ll be able to closely monitor your progress. We’ll custom tailor an aggressive oral health plan that no holiday grind can compromise. Call today to schedule your check-up or your consultation.