When you’re at a holiday party, you’re typically conscious of how the various foods offered will affect your waistline. However, you typically don’t consider how those holiday sweet treats will impact your teeth. If you’re not careful, you could spend the holiday season with your family dentist in Sioux Falls treating a toothache or a broken tooth! Here are six tips to keep your pearly whites healthy when you’re at a holiday party.
1. Don’t Stay Out Too Late
It can be tempting to stay out partying all night, especially when you don’t have to get up early for work or school the next day. Doing so, however, can actually impact your dental health. Not getting sufficient sleep impairs your immune system, hindering your body’s ability to fight off infections like gum disease. Go home with plenty of time to get some shut eye.
2. Use a Nutcracker
Many people have developed an unhealthy habit of shelling nuts with their teeth, which can result in an emergency trip to your dentist’s office. That’s probably the last place you want to be while a holiday party is going on! Use a nutcracker instead. Since it’s the holiday season, there is likely to be one lying around somewhere.
3. Care for Your Teeth After Eating
Ideally, you should always brush after eating, but that’s not always possible, especially at a party. When you can’t brush, at least rinse with mouthwash or water. Doing this will prevent food particles and bacteria from sticking to your teeth.
4. Stay Away from Sticky Treats
Speaking of stuff sticking to your teeth, chewy products like caramel and taffy leave behind a sticky residue on your teeth that attracts bacteria that cause decay. If you’re going to consume these foods, eat other items alongside them to keep them from sticking to your pearly whites.
5. Be Careful with Crunchy Items
Hard items like candy canes and crunchy holiday cookies might be popular, but biting down on them too forcefully can break or chip a tooth, which can be expensive to treat. Save yourself the money by staying away from these foods altogether.
6. Take It Easy on the Alcohol
It’s all too easy to drink too much at a party, but keep an eye on your alcohol consumption. Alcohol can cause dry mouth, a condition where you don’t have enough saliva. Although it might sound gross, you actually want more saliva, not less. Saliva washes away food particles and bacteria from your teeth and gums, lowering the likelihood of your developing cavities and gum disease.
Just because the holiday season is here doesn’t mean your oral health has to suffer. Keep these tips in mind as you attend parties this time of year.
About the Author
Dr. Kari Bolen achieved her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Creighton University’s School of Dentistry in Omaha before moving back to practice in her hometown of Sioux Falls, SD. She places a special emphasis on helping patients feel comfortable during their appointments, and she pursues continuing education opportunities whenever she can. To learn more about how to keep your teeth healthy this holiday season, visit Dr. Bolen’s website here.