Protecting Your Teeth from Holiday Risks
The holidays are here, the holidays are here! The holidays are often such an exciting, happy, and joyful time! For many of us, we will get together – communing, reminiscing, and even celebrating – with family and friends a few to several times over the holidays.
However, while this is surely something most look forward to and enjoy, it can sometimes be rough and risky for our dental health too.
While we don’t want to be spoilsports for sure, it is wise to keep in mind just a few dental cautions and suggestions to make sure the holidays stay as pleasant as possible. And of course, to help make sure you don’t end up requiring an emergency trip to your Greenfield or Milwaukee dentist (or emergency dental treatment of any kind).
Do you want to make sure and avoid dental emergencies during this holiday season? Watch out for these potential dental hazards that can be more common over the holidays:
Hard candies almost seem to “go” with holidays. Yet, from peppermints to candy canes, to many other different forms and flavors, hard candies can be rough on the teeth. Most of us tend to eat these types of candies with our back teeth, or molars. Unfortunately, the combination of the unforgiving nature of thick, hard, candies, with chomping them aggressively of these teeth, can make cracks or chips not uncommon.
If those teeth already have cavities, are sensitive, or are weak or chipped, be sure that you – and your children – limit hard candies as much as possible. Everyone should at least be cautious when consuming them. Sucking on hard candies until they are smaller and not as thick and compact can provide some protection too.
Sugars and Sweets
Sugary gifts and sweets are common during the holidays too. At home and even in the office, it’s pretty much a given that there will be more of these confections around than normal.
So long as it’s a holiday treat, some sugar and sweet treats aren’t likely going to be too harmful for most people. On the other hand, as with anything, if overdone, that might not be true. Excessive sugar and sweets can precipitate or promote cavities and even gum irritation.
If you find that you, or your kids, are indulging in a lot of sweets over the holidays, be sure to take care of your teeth super-well. Brush often and as thoroughly as possible. If you are away from home and don’t have a toothbrush with you, rinsing the mouth with water after eating sugary goods can be helpful. And don’t forget… when used wisely and only when necessary, eating an apple can be a good “natural toothbrush” too!
Nuts seem to be around a lot more than usual during holidays too. While nuts can be a rather nutritious “holiday treat,” they can also be a little risky for teeth. Just be sure that young children are only given nuts without a shell (the littlest ones often don’t do well fully-cracking nuts like pecans that are still in their shell). Furthermore, neither you nor them, should use your teeth as a “nutcracker.” That is one of the more common ways tooth damage can occur from nuts over the holidays, as odd as that may sound.
For the adults, libations can be more prolific during the holidays as well. Without going into too many cautions about alcohol use itself, just remember that many alcoholic drinks can also be high in sugar. If you imbibe, try to limit sugary mixers and again, try to balance alcohol consumption with drinking water. Not only will this help protect your teeth, it will help you stay hydrated (and help prevent the headaches that come with dehydration also).
Teeth as Tools
Just as we cautioned about not using teeth as a nutcracker, and being careful when eating the nuts themselves, you don’t want to ever use your teeth as a “tool.” A lot of times people will use their teeth to open packaging, “pry” things, and even open bottles! These are all big no-no’s. In fact, suffice it to say you shouldn’t ever use your teeth to do ANYTHING other than chew.
Really, all of these tips are common sense. And usually, if someone is going to use their teeth to do any of the above, it’s by accident or without consciously thinking about what they’re doing. Thus, it’s kind of hard to warn against these things when most never intended to do them in the first place. However, hopefully, just by hearing about – or reading – these cautions here, it will be at least a slightly helpful reminder. That way, the holidays can stay happy and free of any dental emergencies to ruin the fun!