With the holidays off to a start it’s time to think about feasts, gift giving, family, friends, and all the celebrations you’ll be a part of in the coming weeks. All of those activities have one common element that the team at Edgewood Dental Care is concerned about: stress for your smile!
The holidays are chock-full of good stuff but also a lot of bad as well. This is a key time of year in the fight for a healthy mouth, so we wanted to give you tips to be sure yours stays that way. Hopefully you can learn what to watch out for in the coming weeks so you can greet the new year with a healthy set of teeth.
Sugar, Sugar Everywhere!
Cookies, cocoa, eggnog, and other holiday treats are everywhere this time of year. It’s tempting to simply snack away without worrying about your oral health but that’s not a good idea if you want to make saving money a new year’s resolution! The dental care you might need due to excess sugar could be expensive!
Sugar reacts with the bacteria in your mouth to create acids that eat away at your teeth and irritate your gums. With the levels of sugar you’ll be getting over the holidays you’ll be under almost constant attack from plaque acids. In order to protect yourself you should be sure to drink plenty of water, brush twice a day, and floss every night.
The holidays are a critical oral care time so be careful and don’t set yourself up for cavities or gum disease!
Where Oh Where Are The Scissors And Nutcrackers?
Using our teeth as tools: we all do it, and it’s not a good habit to get into! When we open packages, tear tape, break ribbons, crack nuts, and do other things are teeth weren’t meant to do we’re putting ourselves at risk for serious tooth damage.
The forces required to break some of the most frequently chewed items is far more than your teeth can handle. Let’s say you’re biting into a plastic package or something, you get through, and crack! Your teeth strike each other with what might not seem like a lot of force, but it definitely is.
We see patients more often than we’d like to who’ve injured themselves by using their teeth as tools. Don’t let your holiday be ruined by a chip, crack, fracture, or break when you can simply go find the scissors or a nutcracker. Use the tools that you have to make life easier!
It’s The Most Stressful Time Of The Year
Travel plans, shopping, cooking, and other holiday activities can be fun but let’s face it: the holidays are filled with stress. If you’re the kind of person who gets really worked up over the holidays you could be putting yourself at risk for harm due to the common habits that stress creates in our mouths: grinding and clenching your jaw as well as chewing on your nails.
While nail chewing is the same sort of risk as using your teeth as tools there’s a completely different problem that comes from grinding and clenching: temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, problems. Your TMJ is the spot where your jaw meets your skull. The joint allows you to open your mouth, chew, and do a lot more in your day-to-day life than you realize. Grinding and clenching puts a lot of stress on that joint, which can result in serious pain from worn cartilage, bite changes, tooth damage, and even arthritis.
We suggest you take some time for yourself during the holidays. Don’t overwhelm yourself with the need for everything to be perfect, or for there to be so much food no one can eat. Simply do what you can and enjoy your time with family and friends. The holidays should be about relaxing, not going prematurely grey!
Stay Healthy: Make It A Resolution!
New year’s isn’t here yet but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a holiday resolution or two. This year commit to great oral health by eating well, avoiding using your teeth as tools, and not getting too stressed out.
When 2016 rolls around we’ll be here to help you maintain that healthy, happy smile well into the Edgewood new year. Make sure not to forget about your regular six-month cleanings and exams at Edgewood Dental Care!