Gumdrops, candy canes, frosted cookie cut-outs.

The delicious Christmas treats associated with the holidays can wreak havoc on your dental health. Nobody wants to be a scrooge during the holidays and take away the fun snacks and desserts synonymous with celebrations, but it is important to pay careful attention to what you consume to avoid damaging your teeth. You can easily weaken and wear down tooth enamel unconsciously, especially when you eat often throughout the day as you move between parties and family gatherings, never giving your teeth a break.

christmas-cookiesSo what can you do to ensure your smile remains radiant this holiday season and beyond?  The Craig Armstrong, DDS team has some Christmas strategies for maintaining your smile:

1) Eat in moderation. While skipping all goodies can be an impossible feat, there is no reason to partake in everything on the table either. Choose small portions of your favorite desserts to take the edge off of your cravings. Also, it can be easy to become distracted and not even realize that you are eating a lot, so try to be conscious of what you do put in your mouth.

2) Bring an appetizer. Help out your host or hostess by bringing an appetizer to share, and make it something that benefits everybody’s oral health. A tray containing crisp fruits and veggies that stimulate saliva flow and wash away food particles and acids that can harm your teeth, is always a good idea.

3) Brush and floss regularly. Keep a disposable toothbrush with you so that you can pop into the restroom after eating sugary treats. Brush well, and remove particles and debris that can cause tooth decay. Bring along a pre-threaded dental floss pick for simple one-handed flossing on the go.

4) Eat before going out. You will be less tempted to snack if you eat something before heading out. A meal with calcium-rich cheese and chicken will strengthen tooth enamel to combat enamel-eroding acids. Wash it down with a glass of milk for good measure.

5) Limit the eggnog. You may decide to celebrate with a glass of eggnog, but consider keeping it alcohol-free. Alcohol irritates the soft tissues in your mouth and also decreases the amount of natural saliva production. Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to oral cancers because it can affect the way tissue cells divide.

6) Drink lots of water. Carry a bottle of fluoridated water with you at all times. Drinking water will help you control your appetite and the fluoride is good for your teeth. Water washes away debris that can get trapped between teeth and cause problems later on.

7) Chew gum. If you are protecting your smile, the last thing you want to do is pop a piece of sugary bubblegum. But gum made with xylitol can actually be good for your teeth. Chewing a piece of minty gum can also help you limit the amount of food you eat.

Enjoy the season by making good choices that will affect your oral health for many holidays to come!

 

Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christmas_Cookies_Plateful.JPG

Original Source: https://www.craigarmstrongdds.com/the-armstrong-team/protecting-teeth-christmas-treats

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