How to Prevent Cavities During the Upcoming Holidays
It’s candy season, folks, and it all kicks off with Halloween. Late October ushers in the several-month-long stretch of holiday parties at school, at the office, with friends, and with family– and the common thread running through these get togethers? Abounding treats. Halloween is the first of the candy-laden holidays, and every kid you know is soon to have a pillowcase full of sugary confections they will indulge in for weeks to come. First Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas. The treats will be in full supply all the way through the New Year, and the near constant intake of sugar can really take its toll on teeth. For this reason, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of how you can prevent cavities and tooth decay from sneaking up on you throughout the holiday season.
1- Prioritize Regular Brushing and Flossing
You guessed it. The most important way to keep teeth healthy and stay on top of cavity prevention is good, old-fashioned brushing and flossing. You and your kids should be brushing for 2 minutes, twice daily and flossing before bed anyway, but during the holidays with all the cookies and candy, it’s even more imperative to be diligent about these habits. Your friends at Tedford Family Dentistry also suggest, at least for older kids, that incorporating a cavity-fighting mouthwash can help ensure bits of sweet treats don’t take up residence in those hard-to-reach spots and cause decay.
2- Drink A Lot of Water
Water intake is key to wellness for so many reasons, but it’s also imperative for maintaining a healthy mouth. Not only does water help loosen and remove food particles and bacteria on and around the teeth, but it also has a neutralizing effect on plaque acids while encouraging the flow of healthy saliva. Each swig of water acts as a quick rinse for the mouth and teeth, and is an all-around healthier alternative to holiday drinks like soda or punch. Plus, the fluoride in drinking water is nature’s best cavity fighter. Enjoy the festive beverages in moderation, but be mindful of the important role water plays in keeping your teeth in great shape.
3- Avoid Grazing
It may seem like a good idea to slowly munch on cookies and holiday candy, spacing it all out over time; however, this is not the case. Think about it this way– basically everything you eat or drink nourishes the bacteria present in your mouth. Then, said bacteria produces acid which attacks the enamel on your teeth, depleting the minerals that comprise them. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes for the acid levels to neutralize or return to normal levels. Therefore, when you slowly graze on sugary food and drink, you prolong the amount of time your teeth are subjected to the effects of these harmful acids. For this reason, it’s much better for you and your children to partake in your snacks and treats at one time, then give your teeth a needed break.
4- Practice Smart Snacking
Between the sticky holiday candy, caramel corn, and pie, you should sneak in some healthy snacks too! Remember that crunchy vegetables like carrot sticks and celery are not only good for your body, but also help clean off the surfaces of your teeth. Interestingly enough, cheese is also a good choice! Especially if you’re enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two at a holiday party, calcium in the cheese can help neutralize acids from the drinks while also strengthening your teeth. Sneak these snacks onto your kids’ party plates as well, instilling good, balanced habits and healthy choices.
5- Don’t Skip the Cleanings!
Though the last few months of the year tend to be the busiest, don’t skip your regular trips to the dentist! This is probably the most important time of year for staying on top of exams and cleanings. Catch issues early, and use preventative measures like flouride treatments to avoid issues that can worsen over time if not treated. Enjoy the fun holiday season with all their tricks, treats, gifts, and get togethers– but not at the expense of proper oral care. The staff at Tedford is here to help you with all your family dental care needs, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us!