From many dentists’ perspectives, the holiday season is not a time of cheer and goodwill; it is a minefield full of potential dental pitfalls! But that’s not how Dr. Lawrence at your McKinney family dental clinic views it.
See, to us, the holidays are an important part of the year, and celebration is called for! At McKinney Smiles, we believe it’s possible to have your fruitcake ,and eat it too. And we have some suggestions for how to do it!
1) Censor snacking
Eat as much as you want at mealtime– in fact, this is the best time to chow down on cookies and pies, after your healthy meal, of course! But in between meals, give your mouth a break. Constant snacking means that cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth are getting fed as often as you are– and they don’t need to celebrate! When you stop eating, your saliva neutralizes acids in your mouth and washes away “extra” food so bacteria don’t get at it.
2) Rinse your mouth
This may sound funny, but since eating is a fairly common activity over this season, your mouth really benefits from extra water. Water, of course, helps your mouth rinse itself free of sugars and foods that feed bacteria. Also, if you are enjoying a potentially acidic food, taking sips of water in between bites can help your oral pH manage the incoming acids. And rinsing isn’t exclusive to food– if you are enjoying a glass of wine with dinner, be sure to enjoy a glass of water right along with it to combat the extra sugars that wine contains.
3) Chew gum
Sugar-free gum, like the kind sweetened with xylitol, is a great way to end a meal for a bunch of reasons. Gum encourages salivary action, meaning that your mouth will start to neutralize acids wash down food with more saliva. Xylitol itself has antiplaque properties, and chewing gum freshens breath and cleans your teeth. Plus, the act of chewing gum after a meal often has the effect of shutting off the appetite– that way, you are less likely to eat more than your metabolism can handle!
4) Choose chocolate
That’s right, chocolate. When faced with candy for stocking stuffers or decorative dishes, steer clear of sticky, or tacky candy that gets logged in the teeth– brands like Starburst or Skittles, and unfortunately candy canes and Christmas taffy. Instead, choose chocolate; it melts in your mouth, leaving no sugary leftovers for bacteria, and dark chocolate is loaded with flavonoids and antioxidants that fight cardiovascular disease!
5) Stay up-to-date
Sometimes, the holidays can be an easy season to fall behind with appointments at your McKinney family dental clinic. Out-of-town guests, travel, and general business can make us forget the importance of preventive oral care.