The holidays are busy enough as it is; the last thing you want is to have to squeeze in an emergency visit to your prosthodontist in Sand Diego to repair your smile. Whether you’re protecting a dental crown, an implant, or your natural teeth, following these tips can help you avoid an emergency so that you can continue to enjoy the festivities.
What Holiday Foods and Beverages Do You Need to Be Careful Around?
There are a lot of treats that are only served around this time of year, and it’s easy to let yourself indulge. However, there some foods and beverages that you always need to be careful around:
- Peppermint Bark, Candy Canes, and Other Hard Foods: Biting down on something that’s too hard can wear down your natural teeth and might damage a dental restoration. Take the right precautions so that you don’t put too much strain on your smile; for example, you can break peppermint bark into smaller pieces and soften them in milk.
- Caramels, Peanut Brittle, and Other Sticky Treats: Chewing on something sticky might pull on crowns or other kinds of dental work, damaging them. Also, the sugar in these treats stay on your teeth for a long time, giving oral bacteria a chance to feed on it and start forming cavities.
- Red Wine, Hot Chocolate, and Other Dark Drinks: Dark-colored beverages are infamous for discoloring teeth.
- Popcorn: Un-popped kernels could easily crack a tooth or break a restoration if you’re not careful.
What Kind of Precautions Can You Take During the Holidays?
The key to getting through the holidays with your smile intact is to make your oral health a priority even as your schedule is filled with get-togethers and shopping. Some steps you can take include:
- Making sure your holiday diet contains plenty of cheese, apples, strawberries, carrots, broccoli, and other foods that help promote cleaner, stronger teeth.
- Not using your teeth to open packages or bottles. (You should also be wary of biting down on pen tips, fingernails and other hard inedible objects.)
- Keeping your mouth clean by drinking plenty of water.
- Saving sweets for mealtime instead of snacking on them throughout the day. (Your mouth will produce more cleansing saliva during a meal.)
- Practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice a day. (Don’t forget to clean your dental restorations; they may not decay, but if plaque builds up on them you could be at risk for gum disease.)
It may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dentist or prosthodontist; they’ll be able to fix minor dental issues before they become severe and can give you further advice on practicing good dental care during the holiday season. This year, give yourself the gift of an undamaged grin!
About the Author
Dr. Peter F. Johnson is a certified prosthodontist who has served with the U.S. Dental Navy Corp. In addition to regular preventive dentistry, he’s skilled in replacing in restoring teeth using dental implants, bridges, crowns, and dentures. To schedule a holiday visit at his practice, San Diego Denture and Implant Specialists, visit his website or call (619) 463-3737.