It’s December, and you know what that means: it isn’t just winter in Cincinnati – it’s the holidays! Many of the patients we see at Anderson Dental Care are just thrilled for the celebrations of the season, but others see nothing but the stress of shopping, baking, travel, hosting family, and all the other craziness of the season.
No matter what part of the holidays attracts your attention there are things everyone needs to know. There are common holiday occurrences that can cause serious damage to your teeth, and that’s what we want to talk about today: preventing tooth damage during the busy holiday season!
Be Careful What You Eat
We don’t expect our patients to not indulge in all the sweets of the holidays: eggnog, cookies, candy … the list goes on! There are countless sugary treats available during the holidays and while you might love them there are plenty of reasons to be careful about the amount you eat!
Sugar is the number one enemy of your teeth. When you eat sugary foods the bacteria in your mouth metabolizes the sugar into acid that wears away your enamel. Over time this will lead to tooth decay that can be painfully devastating to your smile. While you won’t find yourself with visible damage when you wake up on January first, there’s still a potential for the beginning of serious trouble starting in the next few weeks.
Be sure that you continue to brush twice a day and floss in the evening. It’s essential to keep your teeth healthy during this time of year. You should also be sure you’re drinking plenty of water – it’s great at washing away bacteria, sugar, and the acids they produce. Staying hydrated is almost just as important as brushing your teeth!
Watch Your Stress Level
If you’re one of the people we mentioned who find the holidays to be a stress-inducing time of the year they we have some news for you: that stress can be horrible for your teeth! A common physical symptom of stress is jaw pain, muscle tension in the face and neck, and even lockjaw. These conditions are all related to the clenching and grinding of teeth, a common problem for those under a lot of stress!
That pain and tension indicate a problem with your jaw joint, also called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). disorders of the TMJ can be long lasting and incredibly painful. Thankfully we can treat them at our Cincinnati dentist office. We use mouthguards that cushion your teeth and prevent the pain of grinding and clenching. You generally wear these mouthguards at night but they can be worn as often as you need them.
We also recommend trying to reduce your stress level during the holidays: they are supposed to be fun, after all! Never forget that your happiness, comfort, and enjoyment is a part of the holidays too. If you feel like you need to step away and take a few minutes for yourself just do it!
Use Your Teeth Correctly
There’s another common holiday habit that can really come back to bite you: using your teeth as tools. We see plenty of patients with problems related to biting, twisting, and cracking things with their teeth. It might not seem like there’s much risk to something as simple as biting a package open, but there is! The amount of force needed to crack plastic, nuts, and even ribbon can be enough to cause damage to your teeth.
Patients who we see with damage from using their teeth as tools often have chips, microfractures, cracks, and even complete fractures. You teeth are tough but there’s definitely a limit to what they can do safely! We can treat cracked teeth and other damage to your smile but there’s something even better you can do: just keep the scissors handy!
Don’t Neglect Your Teeth This Holiday Season
We want to help you keep your smile safe and healthy this season but it takes two to make it happen! If you take care of your teeth at home we’d love to be the other half of your dental care puzzle. To be sure you’re headed into the holidays healthy see us at Anderson Dental Care for a checkup today!
You can reach our Cincinnati dentist office by calling (513) 231-7755 or you can request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!