May Your Smile Be Merry and Bright

One of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday season is the gift of a healthy smile. Maintaining good oral hygiene all year long is important, but around the holidays it can be a little more challenging, advises Philadelphia cosmetic dentist, Dr. Pamela Doray.

“During the holidays, we tend to indulge ourselves more than usual on sugary treats and alcoholic beverages,” says Dr. Doray. “Combining this with busy schedules and increased stress, we notice that many patients have a harder time maintaining their oral hygiene. It is important to remember that basic, routine care can combat the effects of holiday food and drinks.”

Here are some tips from Dr. Doray to keep your smile merry and bright:

Wine Wine, both red and white, can have high levels of acidity that attack the enamel of your teeth. Tooth enamel is essential for protecting teeth from decay and wear. To avoid damage, don’t swish wine around in your mouth, and drink water throughout the evening to rinse the teeth.

Sugary Treats Holiday goodies affect more than your waistline.  Candy, cookies, and chocolate stimulate acid production by bacteria and increase the likelihood for developing cavities. It is important to brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating sweet treats.  In the meantime, drinking water or chewing sugarless gum can help. This will boost saliva flow and help to wash debris and acids away.

Stress Stress levels seems to be particularly high around the holidays, leading people to knowingly or unknowingly clench or grind their teeth. Clenching and grinding lead to a host of problems including headaches, jaw pain, and tooth wear (such as chipping). While it is important to find ways to alleviate stress, many times a custom nightguard created by your dentist can save you from discomfort and long term damage to the teeth. If you already have a nightguard, be sure to wear it.

Keep a healthy smile at the top of your wish list! Remember to floss daily and brush at least twice a day and keep up with your regular maintenance visits.

“A healthy smile,” says Dr. Doray, “is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.”