Know who loves this time of year? Gyms and health clubs. Why? Because we love to indulge in our favorite holiday foods and drinks (which sends us racing for gym memberships come January). From candy canes and eggnog to latkes and rugelach, temptation is everywhere. And as much as we enjoy seeing you, we want you and your teeth to enjoy good health this season. We’re not suggesting that you abstain from all enjoyment this season; instead, we offer a few tips that will help you keep your waistline and teeth in good shape.
- Limit sweets and other foods that turn to sugar — When sugar sits on your teeth, plaque, which can lead to both tooth decay and gum disease, begins to build. Try to maintain your healthy lifestyle 80% of the time and treat yourself to holiday goodness the remaining 20%. Latke lovers be warned: the starches in potatoes turn to sugar, making them another food to enjoy in moderation.
- Eat sweets after a meal — When you eat, your saliva production increases to aid with digestion. Since saliva is nature’s way of cleaning your teeth, the best time to enjoy sweets is when your body is working hard at processing the meal you just ate. Another perk? You won’t be so hungry and will be less likely to overdo it with the high-sugar, high-calorie foods.
- Have healthy snack options available at all times — It’s always a good idea to have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand, but this time of year, it’s even more important. Due to the frequency of sugar “binges” during the winter holidays, our bodies crave natural foods. Keep the crudite and mixed nuts handy not only for your family, but for house guests who may prefer to eat clean.
- Include healthy gifts with the treats — This may not be exactly what your children want, but be sure to throw in some dental floss, toothpaste, and a new toothbrush with the candy canes and gelt. Make these “treats” kid-friendly by purchasing products that are specifically marketed to young people (a Disney Princess or Minion toothbrush, for example). We don’t want to exclude the adults, either. No matter what age you’re buying for, include non-edible gifts to ensure that they start 2018 off on the right foot.
- Brush and floss early — Once you’ve enjoyed your after-dinner treat, brush and floss your teeth so you’re less tempted to nosh later on in the evening. If someone stops by with some fruit cake, remind yourself that you’ll have to go through your oral health regimen all over again if you indulge.
The team at Dental Concepts wishes you and your family a happy holiday. No matter what you celebrate this winter, we welcome you to our Boca Raton office to learn more about how to care for your teeth.