Eat, Drink, & Be Merry—and Keep Your Teeth Healthy During the Holidays

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The holidays are here again, and calendars are filling up with festive family gatherings and a plethora of parties. Along with the joy of celebration comes the fun of indulging in fine foods and decadent deserts while imbibing an assortment of sweet drinks, which can take a toll on your teeth and land you in the dentist’s seat.

Eating sugary foods causes naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth to create acids that attack tooth enamel, making your teeth vulnerable to decay, cavities, and gingivitis. If holiday celebrations have you snacking on sweet foods throughout the day for days or weeks on end, your teeth are in danger of becoming damaged — those acids form every time you eat, and they stick around to attack your teeth for up to 30 minutes.

You can have your cake and eat it too!

You don’t need to give up sweets to protect your teeth this holiday season. Simply employ the following tips.

• When you are out, keep a travel-size oral-hygiene kit with you in your car or handbag. Brushing after you eat while out and about not only protects your teeth but deters you from further eating, which may result in less snacking and less potential for damage to your teeth.

• Eating sweets as part of a well-balanced meal is better for your teeth. The more you eat, the more saliva your body produces, which means more food rinsed off your teeth and more harmful acids neutralized.

• Foods that stick to your teeth — sweets, treats, and even nutritious foods such as raisins and dried cranberries — can be very damaging. Avoid consuming large amounts of these foods; instead choose food that is more easily washed away.

• If you do not have access to your toothbrush or mouth wash, rinse your mouth out with water after every meal or snack.

• Chew sugarless chewing gum after each meal or snack to help remove food particles from your teeth.

• When appropriate, use a straw to drink sugary drinks. It helps direct fluid away from teeth.

These tricks may very well help safeguard your teeth against decay. Couple them with a trip to your dental provider for a thorough cleaning, and you are guaranteed to keep smiling beautifully well into the new year.

Wishing you and yours all the best throughout the holiday season and into 2015!

Dr. Petersen, Dr. Mackey, Dr. Ross & Your Las Cruces Dental Solutions Team