When you walk in your grandmother’s house, smells of chocolate greet you. Your favorite three-layered cake is in the oven, freshly baked fudge on the countertop. It’s a chocolate lover’s dream.
If that wasn’t enough of a treat for your sweet tooth, holiday parties fill the calendar every December weekend, and candy canes and mini candy bars line the desks of coworkers — sugar is everywhere this time of year!
And while we can’t disagree that all those sweet treats are incredibly yummy, we also can’t ignore that too many sugary goodies (and too few healthy teeth habits!) can ruin your teeth. We know you’ve got a lot of other things on your mind this season — shopping for those secret Santa gifts, planning Christmas dinner with the family, playing Santa for your kids, and so much more.
So here are four simple ways to keep taking care of your teeth while you’re enjoying all the sweetness of the season.
Keep up your healthy teeth habits.
- Brush your teeth every day. Now’s not the time to skip this healthy habit. Brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. If you find yourself snacking on lots of sweet goodies throughout the day, bump up the number of times you brush, and make a new habit of brushing after every meal.
- Floss every day. Hopefully, you’re already flossing at least once each day. As we’ve said before, flossing can help you remove residue and small particles that get caught in between your teeth. Keep up the habit, even during the holidays. It’s especially important if you’re eating a lot of cake and cookies… You don’t want little bits of those sugary treats to stay in between your teeth for too long!
If you’re traveling for the holidays, be sure to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, and travel size dental floss so you can keep up your healthy teeth habits when you’re away from home, too. Your teeth will thank you!
Be sure you’re still eating plenty of veggies and making other healthy choices.
It can be hard to keep choosing healthy eating when there are so many unhealthy options around us, so here are a few ideas to make those decisions a little easier:
- Make healthy eating a game – For every piece of chocolate you eat, be sure you eat an extra serving of veggies. Or if this sounds too extreme, come up with a solution that works well for you so you’re balancing the sweet treats with plenty of vegetables.
- Switch sweet processed foods out for natural options – If you find that you can’t keep your hand out of the proverbial cookie jar, switch it out for something a little healthier — like a mixed nuts-dried fruit trail mix or a basket of apples and bananas. Try satisfying the sweet tooth with healthier options that are processed less and have lower carb and sugar counts.
- Make healthier cookies – Colgate has some ideas for healthier cookies that have less sugar and more protein and healthy fats:
- Gingerbread cookies with pumpkin to add fiber
- Oatmeal cookies that replace sugar with applesauce
- Colgate also recommends adding protein and healthy fats to other cookies by topping them with almonds — be sure to use sliced or chopped nuts to make it easier on your teeth.
- You can also switch out the puddings, jellies, and jams you typically use with treats that are sweetened with monk fruit, stevia, or other natural sweeteners. They’re healthier and taste just as good as their counterparts that are made with processed sugar.
- Talk a family member or friend into choosing healthy with you – Sometimes it’s easier to make good choices when we know someone else is doing the same. Don’t wait another day! Pick up your phone today and call or text someone you think would be willing to stay the course with you, and agree to hold each other accountable for healthy eating and diligent brushing and flossing throughout the holidays.
That doesn’t necessarily mean never indulging in a sweet treat but being careful how much you indulge and agreeing to take care of your teeth when you do. Together, the two of you can decide your own rules for keeping healthy teeth during the holidays.
Drink plenty of water.
Mayo Clinic says men should drink 15.5 cups of water every day while women need just 11.5. Besides keeping us hydrated overall, water can help rinse away any residue left on our teeth from sugary sweets we’re eating.
So, whether you’re working at home or the office, shopping on your lunch break, or just enjoying some time with your family this holiday season, be sure your water bottle’s close by so you can sip from it all day and keep your healthy teeth residue free.
Go ahead and schedule your next cleaning.
Has it been awhile since your last dental visit? The holidays are the perfect time to schedule your next cleaning. Remember that you can use your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to cover the cost of dental services.
Or if you have dental insurance, now is the time to use it! Most dental insurance companies have a calendar year deductible, which means that any services performed after your deductible has been met will be covered at a higher percentage.
TrueCare Dentistry accepts most insurances. If you have questions about whether we accept your dental insurance, call ahead to talk with a member of our team before scheduling your visit. If you don’t have dental insurance, or if you haven’t met your deductible this year, you may want to search for dental savings plans, which are similar to dental insurance but often have lower monthly premiums and no annual deductible.
Since the holidays are a busy time for everyone, it’s important to schedule your next dental visit as early as you can so you can get the care you need without having to wait.
Celebrate this season by taking care of your healthy teeth throughout the holidays! And when you’re ready for your next cleaning, give TrueCare Dentistry a call.