One of the worst times of year to deal with a toothache, cavity or other dental problem is when you’re about to enjoy all of that delicious holiday food set out on the table, is it not? It can also become quite complicated when it happens while you’re out of town on holiday vacation with no way of getting back to your dentist to deal with the problem. Some dentists even close for the holiday, so if it does happen and you aren’t out of town, you still might not be able to get the help you need.
First, let’s identify why cavities and other dental problems happen, and why they so often happen around the holidays.
Why Do Cavities Happen Around the Holidays?
Stress is a huge contributor to dental problems. When you’re stressed, your mood is affected and you’re more likely to forget about brushing and flossing your teeth. Others of us tend to eat more sweets and carbs when we are stressed, which can also contribute to more bacteria in our mouths. Another contributor is grinding and clenching your teeth. Many of us do this as a response to stress. However, if you grind and clench your teeth, it could lead to a tooth fracture or erosion of tooth enamel.
2. Missed Appointments
By the end of the year, it’s quite possible that you have already used your dental benefits, or they have already expired because you haven’t used them yet. When you don’t attend your dentist regularly, plaque builds up and you are more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. For more information on the importance of regular dental checkups, see Preventing Diseases with Regular Dental Checkups.
Luckily, there are several ways to prepare your teeth for the holiday season, starting now.
How Can You Prevent a Dental Crisis During the Holidays?
- Eat sugary foods with meals not as snacks
- Avoid chewy foods or take precautions
- Rinse your mouth after eating
- Neutralize acids in your mouth
- Keep a toothbrush wherever you go
- See a dentist before you leave for the holiday
Eat sugary foods with meals
While eating sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods is bad, in general, for your teeth, it’s better to eat them as a part of a balanced meal. So if you’re going to eat those sugary Christmas cookies and cake this Christmas, make sure you eat them with a meal. When you digest larger meals, your body produces more saliva, which washes away the food and neutralizes harmful acids ahead of time so they can’t attack your teeth.
Avoid chewy foods or take precautions
Foods that take longer to chew are more likely to damage your teeth. These foods are usually sticky and hold acid against your teeth for a longer period of time. Even nutritious foods could be included in this; foods like raisins, dates and dried fruit.
Rinse your mouth after eating
After you consume foods like those listed above and other high-acid foods, rinse out your mouth with water before brushing your teeth so you can prevent tooth erosion.
Neutralize acids in your mouth
If you’re not in a place where you can brush your teeth after you eat, try to at least rinse your mouth out with water or chew sugar-free gum to help wash away those food particles, produce more saliva and thereby neutralize the acids in your mouth.
Keep a toothbrush with you wherever you go
Keep your toothbrush and a travel-size toothpaste on hand (in your pocket or purse or in your car) so you can brush your teeth right after you eat. Another benefit of brushing your teeth right after you eat is that you’ll be less likely to eat more food afterward.
See a dentist before you leave or when you get back
The best way to prevent cavities and other dental problems from developing during the holiday season is to schedule a dentist appointment early to make sure there aren’t any pre-existing problems. By going ahead of time, you can get your teeth fixed before any holiday festivities begin, or you can at least have them cleaned to avoid the plaque buildup that can occur by missing your regular dental checkups. And if you can’t get to the dentist before you leave for your holiday vacation, make an appointment when you get back so your dentist can help you remove any plaque that built up over the holiday.
Consequently, if you’re in a situation where you have run out of your dental benefits for the year or you are without dental coverage altogether, consider a discount dental plan with 1dental.com. These are affordable and will provide you with the low costs you need to get those checkups scheduled and taken care of.