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6 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy This Holiday Season

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year (according to the music in Target), but the holidays aren’t the best time of year for your teeth.

There are sweets galore at holiday parties and events, and traveling can make it more difficult to stick to brushing and flossing routines.

Studies show that excess sugar and other foods and drinks that are popular during the holiday season wreak havoc on your teeth. The extra sugar in all of those cookies and eggnogs feeds bacteria in your mouth that make it more acidic than is healthy.

The bacteria (mostly streptococcus mutans and streptococcus sobrinus) produce too much acid that can damage your tooth enamel.  It creates an environment that increases the likelihood of developing cavities.

So how can you keep your teeth healthy while you still indulge in the occasional holiday treat?

Check out these 6 tips:

#1: Get a New Toothbrush To Start The Season

As we’ve mentioned before, having a quality toothbrush is a cornerstone of dental health.  Make sure that your brush has bristles that are in good enough condition to clear away most of the food in between your teeth.  If you start the season with a brand new toothbrush, you guarantee that you’ll get the best possible level of clean in your attempts to stave off plaque-producing bacteria.

#2:  Always Carry Floss

While a new brush will get you most of the way to a clean mouth, no dental hygiene regimen is complete without floss.  If you find yourself at a holiday party enjoying some sweets, you can always slip into a bathroom and floss the candy from between your teeth to make sure that your teeth and gums won’t suffer.  You won’t regret always keeping a container of floss handy this holiday season.

#3:  Avoid Alcohol in Excess

Most alcoholic drinks have a ton of sugar in them (and red wine stains teeth, too).  It’s the same story with cookies and hot chocolate as with alcohol:  sugar feeds bacteria that secretes acid that eats your tooth enamel.  If you decide to have a drink or two, be sure to brush ASAP to stop the chain of events that leads to tooth decay.

#4:  Be Wary of Nut Mixes

If you are snacking on nuts or cracking them yourself next to a roaring fire this holiday season, make sure you don’t bite down on something that will chip your teeth.  Occasionally, there are shells and husks left in processed nut mixes that are hard enough to damage or chip your teeth.  Tread lightly!

#5:  Don’t Chew Ice Cubes

When we go out to eat or go to parties, we inevitably drink more sodas and other iced beverages.  It’s important that you refrain from eating ice cubes that come along with your drink.  The ice is too cold and hard to chew, and chewing it could damage the enamel on your teeth.

#6:  Don’t Smoke

Stress is common during the holidays.  It’s the time of year where people can easily fall back into smoking habits to cope with acute stress. It’s also common to enjoy a cigar with friends and family around a fire.  But both are terrible for your dental health.  If you do decide to smoke, be sure to brush ASAP to help mitigate the damage to your teeth and gums.

There’s no reason you can’t have a wonderful holiday and keep your teeth as healthy as ever.  Follow these tips to protect your smile this holiday season and don’t forget to schedule your next cleaning with Dr. Kososki in Plano, Texas, today!

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