The holiday season is a challenging time to stay healthy. Your waistline isn’t the only thing that may take a hit—your teeth and gums are also at risk. Here’s how to protect your smile during the holidays.

Indulge at the proper time.

It doesn’t hurt to enjoy sweets in moderation. Still, the timing matters. Plan to eat dessert shortly after mealtime rather than grabbing sugary snacks frequently throughout the day. Going long periods without eating prevents sugar from lingering in your mouth so you can avoid bacteria growth, plaque, and cavities.

Keep up with oral hygiene at home.

Are you good at remembering to brush twice a day and floss daily at other times of the year? Don’t become lax just because it’s the hectic holiday season! Good oral health habits help to protect your teeth, even as you indulge in more goodies than usual.

Get energy from healthy sources.

You may need lots of energy to get through the holiday season, but don’t rely on sugary sodas, acidic sports drinks, and tooth-staining coffee. Instead, get your energy from a nutritious diet full of vitamins and minerals.

Drink plenty of water.

Alcohol intake tends to rise during the holidays. If you choose to imbibe, balance each drink with a glass of water. This helps you stay hydrated and avoid dry mouth, which can lead to cavities.

Wear a mouth guard.

Whether you play winter sports or grind your teeth at night, wearing a mouth guard can help protect your smile. Your dentist can recommend the right product to reduce injuries from contact sports and prevent bruxism, or nighttime tooth grinding that may cause cracked teeth and receding gums.

Avoid sticky treats.

Caramel and taffy may taste delicious, but they can wreak havoc on your mouth. These sticky substances cling to your teeth, promoting cavities and sometimes yanking out fillings! Even dried fruit can be problematic, so be picky about the types of treats you enjoy during the holidays.

Stop biting your nails.

The holidays can be stressful, which may increase the temptation to bite your nails. This habit is linked to tooth grinding and clenching, jaw problems, and sensitivity, so you should avoid it to protect your teeth. One effective deterrent is to wear bitter-tasting nail polish.

Don’t use your teeth as tools.

Enamel is the hardest material in the body, but your teeth can still crack if you use them to rip open packages or pry off stubborn bottle caps. Protect your pearly whites—reach for scissors or a bottle opener instead.

These tips should help you avoid emergency dentist visits during the holidays. Still, if you’re due for your next teeth cleaning, be sure to schedule an appointment before the new year rolls around. Whether you need preventative services or dental restoration, we are ready to serve you! To get started, please contact one of our dental offices, or request an appointment online.