The vast majority of holidays are upon us, and for many of us that means engaging with plenty of friends, family and rekindling old connections. Although we should be excited for all of these forthcoming events, it behooves us to remember all of the goodies that can be detrimental to the health of our teeth if we over-indulge ourselves. After all, we want to make sure we have a healthy smile throughout the entire holiday season! Here are six tips to make sure that happens.

Schedule Cleanings
Start off the season the right way! The first step in brightening your smile is to schedule a cleaning with your dentist. During a cleaning, your dentist will polish and clean your teeth thoroughly. The cleaning will involve the removal of plaque, tartar and surface stains, to leave you with that pearly white smile you so deserve.

Talk to your dentist about administering a fluoride treatment, checking your gums for signs of gum disease, and ask for proper brushing and flossing techniques. You can also ask for an oral cancer screening to see if you’re at risk. The dentist is also knowledgeable about nutrition and can tell you what types of foods are harmful to our teeth and what foods improve oral health.

See if your dentist recommends another cleaning at the end of the holiday season, too!

Travel and Tooth Care
A great way to get your dream smile is to correct any issues tooth alignment. Since the holiday season is already upon us, this tip is more for those who are currently using a retainer post braces. The holiday season has a knack for making us forget about all the good habits we established earlier in the year.

If you plan on traveling a lot, schedule a check-up appointment before you intend to leave. Talk to your dentist about the easiest way to make sure you’re fully prepared at all times to keep those teeth clean and healthy! Your dentist will be able to give you a list of items to keep in a travel kit – regardless of whether or not you have had braces or are wearing a retainer!

Transform Your Smile
When we don’t like our smile, we tend to avoid laughing or hide behind our hands. If you are unhappy with the way your smile looks, it can damage your self-esteem. If you undergo a smile makeover, you can restore your self-confidence and never have to cover your smile again.

A smile makeover consists of different cosmetic procedures designed to give you a gorgeous smile that you can be proud of. The procedures range from dental veneers, bridges, crowns or dental implants. Smile makeovers are especially effective if you have chipped, worn or crowded teeth. Depending on what your makeover will consist of, you can get a perfect smile is in as little as two dentist visits. In addition to giving you a beautiful smile, a smile makeover can make you look younger as well!

Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening can compliment your smile makeover, or can be done on its own. When you whiten your teeth professionally, you can brighten your smile up to eight shades whiter. Teeth whitening turns yellow, stained teeth into beautiful pearly whites.

You should opt for a professional teeth whitening procedure instead of using over-the-counter products from the pharmacy. If you insist on using over-the-counter products, you should talk to your dentist about which ones to use. While they may be deemed safe, the chemical compounds used in over-the-counter products may be too harsh for your gums/teeth, specifically. That’s why it’s important to keep your dentist in the loop about which teeth whitening products you want to use on your teeth – they know how sensitive your teeth and gums may be!

Minimalize Your Sugar and Acid Intake
We tend to eat differently than we normally would over the holidays. It’s okay to indulge, especially when you sit down to a home-cooked holiday meal with your family. However, if you can keep sugary and acidic foods to a minimum you’ll be saving your smile.

Sugar feeds bacteria, and foods that are high in acid and sugar (cola, candy, etc.) will allow to bacteria to make a meal out of your teeth’s enamel. When our enamel starts to disappear, the dentin (the layer underneath the enamel) becomes exposed and our teeth adopt a yellowish tinge.

In addition to the discoloration, when our enamel dissipates our teeth can become sensitive to hot and cold making it very painful to enjoy a cup of cocoa or glass of wine over the holidays. If you do indulge in that piece of cake or candy cane, make sure to brush your teeth immediately afterward so the acid and sugar don’t get a chance to linger on your teeth and destroy your enamel.

We would hate to see your teeth become the dessert!

Quit Smoking and Tobacco Usage
It’s proven that tobacco products ruin your teeth. The holidays may not seem like an ideal time to stop smoking. However, any time you can quit this nasty habit is ideal. Smoking and the use of tobacco products stains the teeth and can lead to gum disease and oral cancers (not to mention lung cancer). If you need help, your dentist and doctor can recommend smoking cessation aids to give you a push in the right direction. Quitting smoking and the usage of tobacco products will not only add years to your life, it’ll add years to your teeth too.

There’s a lot to keep track of for tooth care over the holiday season since there’s so much opportunity for us to over-indulge. Talk to your dentist and see what they recommend for starting off the holiday season the right way. They can even provide you with a checklist of reminders incase you forget!

Call Westermeier Martin Dental Care to schedule an appointment with your dentist – 716-508-4547.