Simple Steps for Holiday Dental Care

Miniature Food Christmas Cookies Holidays can be tough on teeth, especially when they occur together like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Beaverton dentist Dr. Bruno da Costa and his team at Harmony Dental encourage patients of all ages to take these simple steps for good dental care this holiday season.

Don’t Forget Sugary Holiday Drinks

It’s easy to forget that favorite holiday drinks like eggnog, hot cocoa and hot buttered rum contain large amounts of sugar. It’s important to be aware that every time you drink one of these rich, sweet and creamy concoctions, the effects on the teeth are the same as eating something full of sugar. Bacteria in our mouths react to the sugar content and create acids that are harmful to teeth.

Instead of these full-sugar drinks, try out different kinds of holiday-themed hot teas or a warming cup of coffee. Milk and water are also excellent choices to wash down the occasional Christmas cookie.

Be Aware of Sugary Holiday Snacks

Holiday foods are everywhere, and it’s safe to say that most of them are full of sugar and fat. The naturally-occurring bacteria in our mouths attack this sugar with gusto, producing the acid that leads to tooth decay. Because holiday cookies, candy, and cakes are so accessible this time of year, it’s easy to forget during the day that we may have already indulged in enough sweet treats for healthy teeth.

Make a Holiday Food Plan

Instead of reaching for holiday foods or drinks whenever you see them, make a time during the day to eat some Christmas cookies or candy. It’s generally better to pair these special treats with a balanced meal as a dessert instead of eating treats just by themselves. Doing this can help you practice portion control when it comes to this sugary foods.

If you find yourself overindulging in holiday foods and drinks, try these simple tips:

  • Step away from the treats and put them away. There is a reason for the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind.” If you’re not surrounded by holiday foods and drinks at every turn, chances are that you’ll be less likely to indulge.
  • Brush your teeth. This strategy works for either preventing overindulgence or after eating sugary snacks. If you brush right before encountering holiday foods or drinks, the leftover toothpaste flavor in your mouth can help discourage taking a bite or two. If you choose to brush after eating a holiday cookie, this will clean away the harmful residue and discourage further eating for awhile.
  • Drink water. Sometimes when we feel hunger, we are actually thirsty. A refreshing glass or two of water can replenish our bodies and help keep our teeth healthy.
  • Chew sugar-free gum. This can help manage cravings and keeps our mouths busy.

Dentist in Beaverton Dr. da Costa and his team at Harmony Dental wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season. To check that you’re teeth are white and bright for the holiday season, call (503) 639-6900 to schedule an appointment!

Photo Credit: Stéphanie Kilgast via Compfight

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