Portland City Dental

Smiling and Surviving the Holidays

This may be the season of magic, but it’s a pretty busy one too. Visitors, vacations, in-laws, last minute work deadlines, and a stream of baked goods, both in and out of the home, can certainly make a lot of people’s stress levels go up!

The problem is, when we get busy– and especially if we feel a little more stressed than usual– we can lapse in our oral care. City Dental understands how this can happen, but cavity-causing bacteria have no holidays…except for the ones you give them.

Here are some tips to make sure you enjoy your holidays, and oral bacteria don’t.

1) Drink plenty of water

This is especially important around this time of year, when your mouth will need some extra help rinsing away excess sugars from holiday goodies. If you are enjoying a glass of wine with your holiday dinner, we encourage you to take sips of water as you do– this can prevent staining.

Water also contributes to your overall health: it helps balance body electrolytes and fluids, assists in kidney function, and is critical for your muscles, joints, and skin!

2) Get plenty of rest

Taking time for self care is a critical part of holiday oral health. Excess stress can sometimes lead to teeth clenching or grinding (bruxism). Over time, these habits will wear down your teeth and can cause gum recession.

In addition, stress raises the level of cortisol (a “fight-or-flight” hormone) in your blood. Cortisol can lower, or even stop, saliva production, which really harms your oral health– and can give you bad breath, which will hurt your chances under the mistletoe.

Take time during the holidays to exercise, nap, or read a quiet book– anything that you find calming and relaxing. You’ll have more fun, and your teeth will too!

3) Enjoy your food strategically

We don’t want to tell our patients not to enjoy the occasional holiday cookie or pie– the season just isn’t the same without them! Instead, we suggest the following for smart holiday eating:

  • Eat sweets with a meal. Salivary production is at an all-time high during meal times, making it the perfect opportunity to wash down those extra sugars.
  • Avoid sticky sweets. Your Aunt Gracie’s carmelized pecans may be the family favorite, but they’ll be feeding cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth long after you’re done munching on them.
  • Chew sugar-free gum. This simple act cleans up your mouth, freshens breath, and tells your body that mealtime is finished.

Finally, don’t miss your appointment

Be sure to schedule your first 2015 appointment with Dr. Bajuscak now so you’ll start the New Year off right!

Happy Holidays from City Dental, your SW Portland dental clinic.

Photo Credit: inekehuizing via Compfight cc