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One of the most exciting things about the holiday season is the delicious food. Not only will you have joyous mealtimes with family or friends, but you also get to indulge in a ton of treats that you may not see the rest of the year.

But, not so fast. Some of those treats could cause you trouble if you aren’t careful. Here are a few tips for holiday oral health so that you don’t start the new year with some new cavities, chipped teeth, or other dental issues.

Watch the Sweets

Who doesn’t love sweets? Pies, cakes, cookies, candies, they’re all plentiful during the holidays. Instead of avoiding sweets, it’s a better idea to eat them with a meal instead of alone or after. The excess saliva you generate will help wash down the sugar that could otherwise linger on your teeth.

Even if They’re “Natural”

Even if you look for healthy snacks, some of these can still cause dental issues. For example, dried fruits such as apricots, prunes, and cranberries are delicious. But, they’re also sticky and can get stuck in your teeth. Make sure to brush carefully and rinse with after eating these.

Avoid Broken or Cracked Teeth

Unfortunately, many of the foods that you’ll see during this time of year have the potential to create an emergency dental situation with cracked and broken teeth. Hard candies, peppermint bark, and nuts are perfect examples.

If you’re going to eat hard candy, suck on it until it dissolves. Resist the temptation to bite down on something that could damage your teeth. And, never crack a shelled nut with your teeth. Use one of those festive nutcrackers instead.

Limit Your Alcohol Intake

Staying hydrated is essential for good dental health. Stick with things like water or milk and limit your intake of alcohol or beverages that might stain your teeth. Drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine, and soda can dull your teeth over time.

Take Care With Starchy Foods

If you think that you only need to watch out for the sweet stuff, you’d be wrong. Starchy foods can cause trouble as well because they tend to get caught in your teeth. Think of that delicious bread, potatoes, and even beans as examples. Just make sure that you floss thoroughly to remove all of these particles.

Eat Some Healthy Foods

Not all holiday food is bad for your dental health. Cheese, for example, can help balance pH levels in the mouth and fight bacteria. Vegetables like broccoli, cucumbers, and carrots can clean your teeth and gums by removing food particles. And the natural fibers in fruits like kiwis, strawberries, and apples will scrub your teeth as you eat them.

Maintain Proper Dental Hygiene

The holiday season is the perfect time to take a close look at your daily dental hygiene routine. Make sure that you are flossing and brushing your teeth frequently, may even more so if you are eating sweets or sticky substances. And, check that you have an appointment to see your dentist in the new year.

Dr. Melchers and the experienced staff at Old Mt. Pleasant Dentistry want you and your loved ones to have a joyous holiday season. We care about your wellbeing and are here to assist with any holiday oral health issues. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule your next appointment.