‘Tis the season for holiday treats! Which means it is also that time of year when you’re at greater risk for tooth decay. To keep your teeth in good condition this holiday season, try following these ten easy steps.
1. Brush immediately after eating.
From the moment you take that first bite of a sugar cookie, the bacteria in plaque get to work at metabolizing the sugars in your food. Once the sugars are processed, these bacteria begin to release harmful acids onto your dental enamel, causing decay. This process takes about 20 minutes to complete. Therefore, by brushing your teeth immediately, you can wipe away the plaque before it can cause any damage.
2. Chew sugar-free gum.
Next time you head to the drug store, look for gum that contains Xylitol. This ingredient helps to boost your saliva production and protect your teeth from cavities.
3. Drink plenty of water.
The fluoride in water naturally fortifies your dental enamel and makes it strong against plaque’s corrosive acids. Fluoride can actually even reverse tooth decay in its early stages! Therefore, by drinking plenty of water, you can help to boost your oral health.
4. Avoid long-lasting or sticky sweets.
You may be surprised to learn that eating a large amount of sugar is not as indicative of your risk for decay as the duration of time that this sugar resides on your teeth. For example, eating a big piece of cake quickly is less damaging than sucking on a single piece of hard candy for a long period of time. Therefore, try to avoid eating long-lasting candies or candies that stick to your teeth this holiday season.
5. Read the labels.
Avoiding candy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re avoiding sugar. Unfortunately, sugar tends to hide in foods you wouldn’t suspect! You’ll find added sugar in ketchup, barbecue sauce, low-fat yogurt, baked beans, canned soup, and more. Therefore, make sure to check the labels when you’re grocery shopping so as to avoid any unnecessary sugar intake.
6. Maintain a solid dental hygiene routine.
One of the most important things you can do to avoid tooth decay is maintain a solid dental hygiene routine. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice per day as well as after meals. You should also be sure to floss at least every evening in order to remove the plaque that is hiding between your teeth.
7. Munch on crunchy fruits and vegetables.
A healthy diet is important for a number of reasons, but you may be surprised to find that crunchy fruits and vegetables have the added benefit of fighting tooth decay. When you chew on these fibrous snacks, they naturally scrub the surface of your dental enamel—like a toothbrush!
8. Drink tea.
Green and black teas can actually help to eliminate harmful bacteria that’s hiding in your mouth. Try having a cup of tea (without sugar) once per day to keep the harmful bacteria at bay.
9. Limit your sugar intake.
While this may be easier said than done if you have a big sweet tooth, limiting sugar is one of the best things you can do to avoid tooth decay. Try avoiding the candy trays this holiday season to keep your teeth in good health.
10. Schedule a post-holiday check-up.
Regular visits to the dentist (at least once every six months) are critical to maintaining your oral health. Your dentist will check your teeth for any signs of decay and gum disease, and you will also receive a thorough professional cleaning to improve the health of your teeth and gums.
To schedule your next check-up, contact Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics in Winfield today!