5 Dental tips for the Holidays

  • Posted on: Nov 4 2018

healthy teeth for thanksgivingGrand Rapids, MI

Thanksgiving is usually a time when we gather with friends and family to enjoy a big meal and show some appreciation for the good things in life. However, getting a cavity during this time of year really can put a damper on the holiday season. Make sure your dental health stays protected during the holidays by following these five tips, as compiled by your Grand Rapids cosmetic dentists Dr. Jerry Mulder and Dr. Allyson Mulder at A Life of Smiles.

Avoid lengthy meal times: Thanksgiving dinner is the biggest meal most people eat in a calendar year, and therefore, poses a more significant risk to your oral health. When you eat a long meal, it extends the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the sugars, starches, and acids in foods that can encourage the development of areas of decay and also threaten the strength of your tooth enamel. Snacking all day long has a similar effect. Prevent these behaviors by planning some Turkey Day activities that do not revolve around food: go for a walk, watch a movie, play games, or just spend time catching up with your friends and family.

Drink plenty of water: When you are eating a meal that is especially large and lengthy, drinking water is a great choice. These sips of water help to wash away remaining food particles in the mouth, preventing them from accumulating on or between your teeth. The benefits of water go beyond just holiday meals. Water is calorie-free, sugar-free, and non-acidic, while also increasing the production of saliva—a natural defense mechanism in the mouth that helps diminish the build-up of cavity-causing plaque.

Stay wary of side dishes: Unfortunately, many traditional Thanksgiving dishes can be hazardous to your teeth. One of the worst offenders is cranberry relish. It’s sticky, high in sugar, and acidic. Stuffing, because it is a bread-based food, is broken down by your saliva into a gummy paste that adheres to the surfaces of your teeth. Even mashed potatoes can pose a risk—as can pecan pie and many of other desserts that make it onto holiday tables. Your best bet is to practice moderation when consuming these Turkey Day staples, and remember to brush and floss after enjoying your Thanksgiving feast.

Brush and floss: Your dentists in Grand Rapids always have recommended that patients brush their teeth twice per day and floss daily. Keeping up this habit can be hard during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but be sure not to neglect your oral health even during this busy time of the year. We recommend brushing your teeth about 30 minutes after the Thanksgiving feast is over. However, if this is not possible, chew on a piece of sugar-free gum instead. Chewing sugar-free gum promotes the production of saliva, scrubbing away food particles before they can build up on your teeth while also benefiting your digestive process.

Make an appointment for a cleaning: Finding the right dentist in Grand Rapids to care for you is vital to maintaining good dental health. No matter what your age, you should see your dentist once each six months for a check-up that includes a cleaning and examination. It also may be a good idea to schedule an extra cleaning during or after the holiday season—so that you avoid beginning the new year with a cavity or a case of gum disease. At A Life of Smiles, we provide dental cleanings in Grand Rapids to remove all the plaque and bacteria from your teeth, also limiting your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Contact us at (616) 458-0631 to schedule your appointment today.

A Life of Smiles is proud to care for patients in the area of Big Rapids, Grand Rapids, and Holland, Michigan.

Posted in: Tips