The 12 Days of Dental | Good Oral Hygiene Should Never Take a Holiday

The holiday season is here once again. And no matter the celebration, whether it be a traditional Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Festivus, or otherwise, we want you to enjoy this important time of year with your close family and friends, who matter the most. All the while, we want to ensure your oral health isn’t forgotten. Therefore, we have made a 12 days of “dental” checklist. These fun reminders and tips will ensure you remember to treat your teeth as well as your tummy this year.

  1. Honor existing dental appointments
    We understand the holidays are a busy time of year, with traveling plans and family coming into town, many unexpected factors arise that clutter your already tight schedule. This is why we encourage you to proactively plan your day, to allow time for your reserved dental appointment. Also, maximizing your dental insurance benefits prior to the end of the year is another added factor that can assist with cutting your overall out-of-pocket costs. And we want to ensure your appointment isn’t postponed, as our schedule tends to book in advance for dental hygiene sessions, especially around this time of year.
  2. Stop smoking
    Shopping for the perfect gift, making sure you have all the ingredients for grandma’s special recipe, and decorating your home for the holidays are all additional stresses. And key triggers, such as stress, have proven to be the reason smokers oftentimes increase their nicotine intake during these months. Smoking is a direct link to gum disease, the leading cause in tooth-loss. What better gift to give your family this year, than a smoke free environment?
  3. Avoid using your teeth as a gift wrapping tool
    It is so easy to misplace the scissors with all the extra hands scrambling to wrap presents, not to mention the mail and packages to open as well. Take caution to avoid chips, fractures, or emergency based visits to the dentist by avoiding the use of your teeth as a tool for cutting. It might be tempting, but we assure you that is not the way you want to spend the holiday.
  4. Purchase a Travel-size Hygiene Kit
    An inexpensive way to keep your teeth looking their best at all your family gatherings is to purchase a small travel-size hygiene kit. Complete with a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, and toothpicks, it is the perfect solution for touching up between house to house visits. The conveniently sized pouch can easily be placed in your car or purse for easy access.
  5. Stock your Stockings Well
    Stockings by the fireplace are filled with wonderful goodies enjoyed by people of all ages. This year when shopping for those miniature treats, be sure to purchase stuffers that offer more than an oral sugary bath for the recipient. Many gift ideas, such as playing cards, socks, and bath essentials are great alternatives to candy.
  6. Avoid Excessive Hard Candy
    Although it’s tempting, ensure that hard candy such as lollipops, hard mints, and candy canes are kept to a healthy minimum. These sugary treats tend to linger on the surface of your teeth and can cause chipping if you are biting down on them. It’s in best practice to allow the candy to dissolve and then brush afterward.
  7. Rinse after Holiday Beverages
    Eggnog, hot chocolate, sparkling juices, and alcoholic beverages are always readily available at dinner and office parties this time of year. After enjoying these tasty drinks discretely swish with water until you are able to brush your teeth properly. This will help to avoid decay. If you can locate a straw to use, even better!
  8. Let your kids “carol while they clean”
    The golden rule, as recommended by the American Dental Association, is to brush for at least 2 minutes. However, for those with small children, it can be a challenge to achieve. This year make it a game! Let your child choose their favorite carol, and have them hum while they are brushing. By the time a verse or two and a chorus has gone by the two minutes will be up and it will have been fun and painless for both adult and child.
  9. Watch-out for Wine
    A glass of wine while the turkey finishes up in the oven, sounds like a nice way to relax before the guests begin to arrive. However, it is important to remember that wine, especially those that are red or dark in color, can cause staining. Choose your beverage carefully and be sure to only enjoy in moderation to avoid dulling the appearance of your teeth. Ask our doctors about both in office and at home whitening treatments to keep them bright all year long.
  10. Choose cheese & veggies
    Broccoli and carrots are terrific treats for your teeth as they are rich in Vitamin A, which strengthens your enamel. And if you are choosing to indulge in alcoholic beverages, snacking on cheese cubes are a great way to balance the acid that’s in those drinks and doubles as a great source of calcium. So if you don’t know what covered dish to bring, a veggie and cheese tray might just be the perfect (and healthier) option to go for.
  11. Make the holidays more meaningful
    Grazing on food throughout the day is not an uncommon practice on big holidays. After dining with your family this year, maybe try a new practice centered more on activity and games. By avoiding a constant state of eating, you can monitor your waist as well as your oral health.
  12. When in doubt, give the gift of dental care
    Practical gifts always give the recipient something to smile about. So when in doubt, give the gift of dental products. Whether a small stocking stuffer or a last minute teacher gift, toothbrush, floss, and a little lip gloss will always be a fan favorite.

We hope this helps with putting your holiday dental woes at ease. Drs. Hochberg and Diora wish you a wonder-filled holiday season.

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