The new year brings on new challenges and goals, and one of the main obstacles is improving one’s health. This goal starts with proper oral maintenance because the way you treat your oral hygiene has a large impact on the overall health of your body.
What you eat this holiday season can dictate how you start off the new year. Be sure to keep track of what you consume, and always maintain a consistent oral hygiene regimen. Follow the instructions and tips below to start off the new year with great oral health.
A major factor in oral care this holiday season will be consistent oral maintenance. Since you will most likely be eating more this time of year than you normally do, it’s important to brush and floss properly to keep your oral health in check.
Follow these oral maintenance tips to ensure your mouth is clean and fresh this holiday season.
Even though we have been brushing our teeth for as long as we can remember, some people may be surprised to find out they are not brushing properly. Colgate recommends brushing at least two minutes every session, and insists on three minutes being the norm. Colgate also suggests brushing one and a half minutes on both the upper and bottom teeth. This time frame ensures you are reaching every possible spot with your brush, even the molars, which are a commonly missed spot while brushing.
Brushing once in the morning and night before bed is best practice for a healthy mouth. Brushing when you wake up is crucial, as bacteria tends to multiply in your mouth overnight. Brush before bed, as you want to minimize the amount of bacteria in your mouth before going to bed when bacteria is free to grow while you sleep.
Brushing your teeth is especially important during the holiday season since food consumption is usually higher, resulting in more food particles stuck in your teeth.
You’re probably tired of reminders to floss, but it’s only because flossing is important to your oral health. Flossing is imperative during the holiday season, as the increase in food consumption will create more food particles in your mouth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Be sure to floss once per day, preferably before bed.
A quick and easy way to floss on the go is with a floss pick. The floss is held between two plastic arms which eliminate the need to wrap the floss around your fingers. This method is extremely convenient when out and about because it takes less time than traditional flossing.
You may think harder bristles mean a deeper clean, but they can do more damage than good. Harder bristles can cause gum recession and run a higher risk of scraping the enamel off of your teeth. Colgate recommends a soft bristle brush, as these brushes are best for removing plaque and food debris from your teeth while being easy on your gums and enamel.
Depending on what you eat, brushing after eating can be good practice. Foods and drinks high in carbohydrates and sugars (pie, eggnog, and dips), enhance bacteria growth. As a result, brushing right after you eat these sugars will rid your mouth of bacteria before it attacks your tooth enamel.
However, if you eat something acidic, wait at least 30 minutes to brush. Foods like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon after eating can damage the enamel.
To piggyback off the last tip, foods high in sugar are not good for your teeth, especially when you don’t have a toothbrush handy at the Christmas or New Year’s party. Sugar is known to have many negative effects on teeth, with the main effects being cavity development and tooth decay. Harmful bacteria in your mouth feed off the sugars you eat to create acids that destroy tooth enamel.
Your best bet is to minimize sugar consumption this holiday season. While completely refraining from cake, cookies, and eggnog may be tough to do, limiting consumption can go a long way in ensuring your teeth are protected this holiday season.
Hydration is going to be key this holiday season, especially if you are bouncing around between parties. When dehydrated, your mouth doesn’t produce as much saliva, which is a crucial element in naturally washing away bacteria.
Drinking water is essential in saliva production, and is a necessity when drinking alcohol since alcohol tends to dry out your mouth. A dry mouth creates a breeding ground for bacteria, so be sure to drink water throughout the day, even when you are not thirsty, to ensure you are hydrated this holiday season.
There will more than likely be alcohol available at holiday parties and dinners. While the occasional drink is fine, it’s important to limit consumption not only for your own well-being, but for your oral health as well.
Wine and champagne can have high sugar content, which can be bad for your teeth. Red wine can also stain your teeth, which isn’t the best look when meeting up with friends and family. To combat staining, limit consumption and rinse your mouth with water in order to minimize the amount of staining from red wine.
At Thornhill Periodontics, we want you to have the best holiday season possible. Contact us if you have any questions regarding oral health or if you would like to schedule an appointment to ensure your teeth are healthy for the holiday season.
Dr. Leonard Schwartz
8500 Leslie St. Suite 540
Canada L3T 7M8
Monday: 7:30am – 4:00pm
Tuesday: 12:00pm - 8:00pm
Wednesday: 12:00pm - 7:00pm
Thursday: 7:30am – 5:00pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 4:00pm (alternates)