Teeth Holidays

The holidays are a time for spending time with your loved ones, sitting around the tree while listening to Christmas music, and occasionally indulging in a sugar cookie or two. Here at Gentle Dental Arts — your go-to dentist in Orem, Utah — we understand that it’s natural to want to celebrate and relax during this festive season. Whether you like to spend the holidays cooking up a storm in the kitchen or sitting around a warm firepit drinking hot cocoa with your cousins, you know you’re in for a good time.

Your teeth, however, might not feel so hot after several weeks of eating Christmas cookies and neglecting your usual brushing and flossing routine. We’re not saying you do this personally, but it’s common practice for people to fall out of their usual routines during the holidays, especially if they’re traveling a lot. It takes a long time for us to get accustomed to a routine, but once that routine is brushed aside (no pun intended), it becomes very easy for us to fall back into our old ways.

This holiday season don’t let your dental hygiene fall by the wayside. In this article, we’ve compiled some helpful tips regarding preventive dentistry and how to take care of your teeth during the holidays — and no, it’s not just about going easy on the candy. Read on to find out more!

If You’re Traveling for the Holidays, Be Prepared

It can be exciting to break routine and go somewhere new for the holidays. Even if you’re just visiting family, you’ve seen a hundred times before, the holiday season can feel like a nice little vacation from your everyday life. Plus, you get to relax and enjoy the festivities with those you love most in the world. What could be better?

It can be easy to break routine while you’re traveling. Maybe you forgot your dental floss or didn’t feel like lugging your electric toothbrush along with you on vacation. You might find yourself saying things like: “What’s the harm in indulging in Grandma’s homemade fudge?” or “It’s fine if I don’t floss for a day or two, right?” While going on vacation is relaxing, the traveling aspect of it can be stressful, so it’s perfectly understandable if you just want to kick back and chill when you finally reach your destination.

However, neglecting your dental hygiene while on vacation is really not a good idea. If you choose not to floss for a few weeks while also eating a lot of foods that are high in sugar, for example, you’re likely to find that you’ve accumulated more than a few toothaches and cavities by the time you get home. Thankfully, if you have good dental insurance, these things are quite fixable. However, wouldn’t you rather do a good job taking care of your teeth while on vacation than risk having to go to the dentist for multiple expensive, sometimes painful appointments?

In order to stick to your teeth-brushing routine while on vacation, you’ll want to make sure you’re well-prepared. If you have an electric toothbrush, bring it — along with the charger, plenty of dental floss, and some travel-sized toothpaste. You can keep these things in a toiletry bag while traveling, which is quite convenient. Once you get to where you’re going, remember to stick to your regular brushing and flossing routine as much as you’re able to. It just takes two minutes each morning and night!

Stay Away from Certain Candies and Sweets

Of course, it’s fine to eat candy and sweets in moderation, but you’ve got to take into consideration the fact that you’re going to be eating more sweets than you normally do because it’s the holiday season. We recommend choosing chocolate over slow-dissolving candies like candy canes, as well as opting for sugar-free soda this year. Sugar cookies are also okay, but if they have a lot of frosting on them that is likely to coat your teeth and cause tooth decay, you’ll want to brush and floss immediately after eating them.

It’s also a good idea to eat things like fudge and sticky candies sparingly. These types of candies tend to stick to your teeth, building up bacteria and increasing your chances of getting cavities. This is especially true if you happen to have braces. Sticky candies like caramel and fudge are much more likely to get stuck in your braces and cause issues, especially considering the difficulty of brushing and flossing efficiently with braces. Again, it’s okay to eat these things occasionally, but you just want to be aware of the impact certain foods can have on your oral health.

Beware of Teeth Grinding

While the holidays are fun, they can also be stressful at times. With too many cooks in the kitchen, and your little nieces and nephews running around the house on a sugar high, things can honestly get pretty chaotic. Adults visiting their parents for the holidays might find themselves getting stressed out by the drastic change in routine, and stress can of course lead to teeth grinding — especially while you’re sleeping.

Make sure you’re going in for dental checkups frequently in the months leading up to your vacation, as well as after you return. Your dentist can help you keep an eye on your teeth grinding as well as discuss potential options for how to deal with the damages that can occur from excessive grinding. These options might include training yourself not to grind, or even wearing a mouthguard at night. Just try to be aware of when you’re grinding your teeth while on vacation so that you can quickly put a stop to this harmful behavior.

Final Thoughts

It can be difficult to maintain proper dental hygiene during the holidays. However, there are plenty of preventative measures you can take to ensure that you’re taking good care of your teeth this holiday season. Just do the best you can and remember to call Gentle Dental Arts or contact us online if you have any questions or concerns!