It is Holiday time again…holiday parties, office parties, and social occasions with friends. Time to get yourself ready for these holiday events with a bright, shiny smile and clean, fresh breath.
Start with the Basics for Best Holiday Dental Health
The basics include brushing at least twice a day (for at least 2 minutes each time) and flossing daily. This is the foundation for a healthy smile and fresh breath. Brushing and flossing properly allow you to remove the food debris and plaque that builds up each day from our daily activities. This plaque and food debris, if left, will eventually cause tooth decay, periodontal disease, and bad breath.
Tip for fresh breath: Brushing your teeth and flossing work very well to reduce bad breath, but did you know there was another way to freshen your breath? Tongue cleaning or scraping removes dead cells and unwanted food particles from the folds of your tongue. The debris on your tongue is responsible for a good portion of bad breath.You can buy a specially designed tongue scraper or just use a separate toothbrush after brushing your teeth. Studies have shown this can improve breath by as much as 20%.
Choose Healthy Snacks this Holiday
Make a conscious choice this holiday to choose healthier options. These options can include a carrot, a stick of celery, or even an apple. These types of snacks also work well to help clean stickier foods and plaque off your teeth. They also have an added benefit of increasing salivary flow which will help neutralize acids and wash away bacteria from your teeth, gums, and tongue.
Tip for fresh breath: Chew on some garnish! You will usually find garnishes of parsley or mint on a holiday tray of food. Parsley is a breath saver because it contains chlorophyll, a well known breath deodorizer. Chewing on a few raw mint leaves will freshen your breath very quickly.
Choose the Right Drinks
As many of us are aware drinking certain beverages will lead to staining of our teeth. These beverages include soft drinks, black tea, coffee, and red wine. If you do choose to partake in these beverages try to use a straw to limit exposure to your teeth, or swish and swallow water directly after. This will not only help reduce stains but also lower the acid and sugar exposure on your teeth. Drinks high in sugar dry your mouth and make you thirstier, a dry mouth generally leads to bad breath.
Tip for fresh breath: Choose to drink water instead! Water will not stain your teeth and it helps keep bad breath under control because it washes away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath. It also helps you avoid “dry mouth,” another cause of bad breath, by staying well hydrated. A good tip is also to try drinking green tea: gargling or rinsing your mouth with green tea suppresses the growth of bacteria that cause mouth odor as well as decrease your risks of tooth decay.
Quick Tips For a Pre Holiday Freshen Up
Some mouth rinses or breath fresheners may actually worsen a bad breath problem by irritating oral tissue with their high alcohol content. For an emergency freshen-up, try a quick rinse with a mix of water and a few drops of peppermint oil. Or, you can eat a piece of sugarless candy or chew sugarless gum. Sucking on a piece of sugarless candy or chewing sugarless gum stimulates saliva flow, which will help to wash away food debris and bacteria that cause bad breath. A breath spray can also help. most are minty and cover odors briefly, but you can try something like closys which actually neutralizes mouth odor.
If you follow these tips throughout the holiday season, you may find that not only will you enjoy your holiday festivities, confident in your bright smile and sparkling fresh breath, but also that you have improved your oral health for the coming new year. Remember the holidays are a time to smile joyously so feel comfortable knowing you have healthy teeth and fresh breath. Enjoy the holidays!!
As we are in the middle of the Holiday season there are lots of tempting treats to pick on. Most are okay in moderation but some are likely to create problems for your dental health. Issues that could be created include tooth decay and even fractured teeth. Below are a listing of some to be careful of:
1. Popcorn. An old favorite usually enjoyed at the movies but around holiday time regular old popcorn becomes coated in caramel. Normally popcorn presents challenges for teeth due to biting on popcorn kernels and popcorn husks getting stuck between teeth. Those pesky popcorn kernels have been known to cause broken teeth and fracture fillings. Add the caramel and it is a recipe for disaster as the caramel masks the kernels and sticks in and around your teeth. This can break a tooth, or create an environment ripe for development of tooth decay. So think twice and beware if indulging in this holiday favorite.
2. Dried Fruit. Seems like this would be a healthy snack but the sugars in the dried fruit are concentrated and their dry texture makes them stick longer to teeth. This allows acid producing bacteria in your mouth to have a chance to work on your tooth enamel. Be smart, and floss after or chose fresh fruit instead.
3. White Flour Crackers. We love these crackers with cheese spreads as a pre holiday meal snack. Did you know the bleached white flour turns almost immediately into sugar, which is food for the bacteria in your mouth to create an acid filled environment for tooth decay. Choose whole grain versions of these favorite crackers for better dental health as well asgeneral health.
4. Candy Canes. A traditional favorite that can also cause fractures to teeth if you choose to bite into them. Sucking on hard candy makes the sugar acids linger longer in your mouth. Break off a small piece, and drink water after.
5. Christmas cookies and fudge.These are hard to pass up, especially at a party! Remember that very high sugar content, white flour and the stickiness are the contributors to tooth decay. Try eating some carrots or celery directly after you partake in these sweet treats.
6. Peanut brittle. Some peanut brittle is harder or stickier than others. You can pull out a crown or filling or break a tooth. Try moistening a small piece in your mouth to soften it before chewing. You will certainly need to floss after this snack!
Dental Hygiene Tips for Holidays
-Drink Water. Plenty of it to swish and rinse your mouth.This will reduce the acid producing sugars and food debris from holiday snacking.
-Crunch on raw veggies. They will help clear the stickiness and stimulate salivary flow.
-Brush and Floss After Snacking. Brushing and flossing after snacking will neutralize the acid build up and not allow the tooth enamel to be broken down.
Enjoy the Holidays, just use your judgement to make good choices. You can still eat the special foods you love, just do it wisely. Remember, smiles are contagious, spread some holiday cheer with your beautiful smile!