Holidays- Dental Challenges
The holidays are almost upon us! If you are like us, it is probably the most fun filled and exciting time of the year. We are going to be having a whole bunch of people come see us and we are so excited! That said, holidays pose some unique dental challenges. These are primarily related to what we eat, the frequency of what we eat, how much time we spend on taking care of our oral health and lastly what we do to our teeth.
Firstly, the food! Most of the food we eat during Thanksgiving and Christmas are sticky and they have starch in them. We all know that sticky food and even “non candy” foods like Crackers, Chips can adhere to teeth and serve as a medium for bacterial growth and cavity formation. All these foods are high in carbs and they are hard to get off. Even healthy stuff like raisins for example stay stuck to our teeth, they tend to be particularly bad for your teeth. Now do not get us wrong, we are not asking you to go on a diet. Instead, make smart choices with your food. When given an opportunity choose fresh fruits as opposed to dried fruits. Fresh fruits and vegetables are not that Cariogenic (cavity causing).
Secondly, and this is a big one, try giving breaks between your food consumption, this will help saliva “heal” the acidic effects of the foods that you have been eating or drinking. So, if you had that diet coke and then follow it up with some ice tea and then some red bull to perk you up, you have been constantly rinsing your mouth in strong acid for many hours. So, give your mouth a break. Water is great if you feel like sipping on something.
If possible, try brushing your teeth more often during the holidays. This prevents sticky foods from staying stuck on your teeth for a long time. Frequent rinsing of the mouth is a great tip. Another tip is to use a sugar free gum in between snacking to increase the salivary flow. This will act as a natural rinse. Increasing you water intake which has fluoride in it will also help. As a side note, most bottled waters do not have enough fluoride in it. You could call the company that you buy your bottled water from to find out the Fluoride content in it. The recommended amounts are between 0.7- 1.2 ppm (parts per million).
The other big problem during the holidays is broken teeth. Broken teeth can be caused by so many reasons, rough play with the kids, chewing on hard candy or ice, using teeth to rip plastic wrappings, just to name a few. Remember, teeth are not meant to be used as tools. They are only meant for smiling, talking and chewing! So next time you have open that bag or that bottle use a scissor or a bottle opener!
We are excited to have our friends and family come visit us but we are also stressed! A lot of the 55 or so million people who will be travelling this year will have a spike in their stress levels. Stress will cause you to grind or clench your teeth. In addition to packing your toothbrush and floss, if you use a Night time appliance, make sure you take it with you during what could be a stressful period. Remember it I so easy to forget these night guards when we are travelling, accidentally let pets chew on them, there are a million ways to lose them so be careful.
Lastly, don’t leave home with problems in your mouth. If you know that you have dental issues and have been putting it off, now might not be a good time to procrastinate. Schedule a visit at Pearl Family Dental so we can see if there are teeth or gum problems that can create trouble for you during your holidays. Remember, it's hard to find dental offices open during the holidays and being proactive and prepared is the best way forward. Call us up at 540 370 8504 or visit us at www.pearlfamilydental.com to schedule your check up!