As much as you might love your dentist, they’re probably not on the top of the list of people you want to spend quality time with this holiday season. You’d probably much rather sit in your living room chair with friends and family than the dental chair. To help you avoid that situation, we’ve compiled this list of five tips to keep your teeth healthy during the holiday season.
1. Quit Biting Your Nails
The holiday season can be stressful for just about anyone. That doesn’t mean you’ll find relief in biting your fingernails. Nail biting has been linked to teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and sensitive teeth. If you get the craving to chew on something, pop in a piece of sugar-free gum instead. It will satisfy your urge to bite while also cleaning your teeth!
2. Avoid Chewing on Ice Cubes or Hard Candy
The last thing you want this holiday season is to sit in your dentist’s office with a painful broken tooth. One easy way to avoid this is to refrain from chewing on hard candy or ice cubes. If you’re finishing off a holiday cocktail, let the ice dissolve naturally in your mouth. Even better, avoid these items altogether. Ice can lead to sensitive teeth, and sucking on hard candies can attract bacteria that cause cavities.
3. Don’t Use Your Teeth to Open Presents
As excited as you might be to unwrap that gift from Grandma, but your pearly whites are not the right tools for the job. Gripping wrapping paper with your teeth can make pieces of them chip off, which can be excruciatingly painful and expensive to treat. Save yourself the money and the pain by using your hands to open presents instead.
4. Use a Nutcracker
Even though nuts are chock full of beneficial protein, that doesn’t mean you should shell them with your teeth. On the contrary, you should avoid doing so because it could cause breakage. Your best bet is to use a nutcracker to shell nuts before placing them in your mouth. After all, its purpose is right there in the name. And, since it’s the holiday season, people will likely have them hanging around as decorations.
5. Say “No” to Chewy Treats
Candy platters at holiday parties are often loaded with gooey treats that stick to your teeth. What you might not know is these candies cling to your tooth enamel and attract bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay. Eat chewy treats in moderation and with other foods so they don’t stick to your teeth.
Lastly, don’t forget to schedule a checkup with your dentist before the end of the year. It’s a good idea to offset all the dental damage that the holiday season can bring.
About the Author
Dr. Shanaka Weerasooriya has achieved Mastery status in both cosmetic and restorative dentistry from Dr. Frank Spear at the Spear Institute. He is also a member of CEREC Doctors, the leading organization of CEREC same-day crowns, which can come in handy if you chip your tooth cracking nuts or opening gifts this holiday season. To learn more, visit his website here.