Matthew Vogel, DMD
The holidays are filled with friends, family, and an overabundance of delicious food. Exuberant eating is a time-honored part of almost every holiday tradition: Hanukkah feasting, neighborhood presents (like sweet breads and candied nuts), even the popcorn you chow down on while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.” During the holidays, we really like to celebrate– by eating!
While this is all well and good, a lot of celebrating can have a big impact on your oral health. As you settle into the busy holiday season, and all of its delectable dishes offered, your team at Gresham Smile Designs wants to make a few suggestions that will have your teeth thanking you!
It’s easy to cancel a dental appointment with Dr. Ries because Aunt Sue is visiting from Montreal, or because a co-worker left early for a Christmas cruise, leaving the rest of the office to pick up the slack. Yes, you tell yourself that you will reschedule at your earliest possible convenience but odds are, this task will fall under a growing “to do” pile.
The problem is, maintaining your oral health isn’t something you can put off. The holidays, and all the events and parties and planning that goes with them, can last for quite a while! Rescheduling around holiday time is especially hard because this is the time of year that many students come back home and want to make their regular dental visits when they’re in town.
When it comes to all that amazing holiday food, Gresham Smile Designs is no Scrooge. We aren’t going to tell you to gnaw on carrots 24/7 while everyone else bites off gingerbread heads and cuts into fruit cake!
No, what we’re suggesting is simply don’t get snagged by the snacks: when you indulge, do so at meal times and brush your teeth afterwards. The problem with snacking is that it keeps your mouth constantly awash in fresh carbohydrates and sugars that cavity-causing bacteria love to feast on. If you’re “grazing,” as some like to say, your mouth doesn’t get a chance to wash itself with saliva and find equilibrium again.
So limit your treats to meal times, and afterwards, clean your teeth. Not only will it discourage bacteria, it will discourage those extra cookies that put on extra pounds!
One of the best ways to avoid the temptation of snacking or filling up your plate with sweet breads is to fill your stomach up with healthy food first. For instance, if you feel peckish before your meal, reach for raw, unsalted nuts. The high fat and protein content is satiating and much better than starting a meal with cookies!
Keep vegetables handy for snacks and make sure you are eating five servings of vegetables a day before you dig into anything high in sugar. Not only does this ensure that you are eating tooth-healthy food in the midst of some pretty indulgent holiday meals, but leafy and colorful vegetables are high in vitamins E and A, both of which are critical for gum health.
The team at Gresham Smile Designs is always impressed by our patients’ diligence and dedication to their health. Throughout the holidays, keep up the excellent oral hygiene regimen that you already practice.
And don’t forget to make that next appointment at your favorite Gresham OR Dentist if you haven’t yet!
Happy, safe, holidays to all!