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4 Tips From a Pacifica Dentist to Protect Your Holiday Smile

08/13/2015

Steven Chussid, DDS, an associate professor of dental medicine at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, writes this tips and tricks article to help protect your teeth during a time of year when candy sweets and hi sugar deserts cram our plates. It is important to remember to take everything in moderation and watch your sugar intake.

How to keep your pearly whites intact during sweets season.

By

Jodi Helmer

WebMD Magazine – Feature

You can enjoy seasonal sweets and still have a cavity-free smile to flash in festive photos. These tips will keep your teeth healthy during the holidays.

Avoid over doing it with candy. It’s the most wonderful time of year for candy canes, popcorn balls, and cookies — and this nonstop buffet of sweets can wreak havoc on your teeth, says Steven Chussid, DDS. He’s an associate professor of dental medicine at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.

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Still, you don’t have to skip holiday treats. “Eat a single dessert and brush your teeth afterward,” Chussid says. “You’ll expose your teeth to less sugar [with a single treat] than if you’re constantly snacking, and that reduces the risk of tooth decay.”

Snack smart. Use a nutcracker, not your teeth, to shell nuts. No nutcracker? Choose a different snack. “One poor decision can cause a lot of painful and expensive damage,” Chussid says. “Is it worth it to break a tooth for a nut?”

Keep a routine. The holidays can upset your schedule, but you should still brush at least two times a day.

To keep up good habits on the go, stash a toothbrush and mini tube of toothpaste in your purse or briefcase and make time to “freshen up” after meals. If brushing your teeth isn’t an option, chew sugarless gum, which boosts saliva, helps flush out food debris, and more.

Honor appointments. Skipping a dental exam could get you on the naughty list. “It’s much better to catch problems now and not put them off until the new year,” Chussid says.

If your 6-month checkup falls during the holidays, consider it a celebration of good oral health — and a holiday gift to yourself.

Crunch Time

If you crack a tooth on grandma’s peanut brittle, you may not be able to see your dentist. “Most dental offices are closed during the holidays,” says Kimberly Harms, DDS. She’s a dental consultant in Farmington, MN. If you have a dental emergency, Harms offers these tips.

Be prepared. Pack dental floss, gauze, and over-the-counter pain relievers with your toiletries to deal with minor dental problems when you travel. Take your dental benefits policy number with you.

Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don’t floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don’t floss daily, but you’re well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!