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Wellness Wednesday: Maintaining your oral health during the holidays

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Posted at 9:03 AM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 11:03:19-05

IDAHO — Your holiday calendar is likely to be busy, but there are easy ways to make sure you stay on track with your health goals.

Dr. John Hisel with Paramount Family Dental says sticking to a routine you already have is the best bet for success.

"This is a super busy time of the year. It can be kind of stressful so it's probably not a good time to try to introduce anything new so just stick to your basic routines. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, and I think that will help a lot," he explains.

Another tip: make sure you're drinking a lot of water.

"You may be snacking or eating things that might not be the best for you, but drinking lots of water will help clear your mouth of things that might not be that great for your teeth."

Dr. Hisel says one issue he's seen recently is teeth being used as a type of tool for something other than enjoying food.

"During Christmas, I see people ripping open packages with their mouth or taking tags off things, then they wind up in my office with a broken front tooth, so that's kind of a funny one you might not think of but actually pretty important."

Dr. Hisel also adds anyone playing winter sports like ice hockey or ski racing should make sure they have a good mouthguard - something your dentist can help you find.

As for those holiday gatherings, there are certain drinks you might want to reach for instead of the usual, sugar-filled fare.

"I don't think that you have to completely avoid any specific thing, but maybe you have that glass of water on the side to chase whatever you drank down," says Dr. Hisel. "Lots of drinks that fizz have acids in them that aren't really good for our teeth so not letting those things accumulate or collect on our teeth is a really good idea."

While Santa is filling those stockings, there are some candies Ol' Saint Nick should consider using to treat the kids to this year.

"A lot of things that wind up in the Christmas stocking are hard candies like the classic candy cane so my advice there is be careful when you're crunching those things," Dr. Hisel says.

Prolonged exposure after sticky candies is another concern this year.

"A lot of those candies can be sticky. Those aren't necessarily the best ever so if I'm recommending something, I'm going to go with chocolate because chocolate actually does kind of dissolve off our teeth rather quickly, and then it's much easier to rinse off."

If you'd like more tips for keeping your teeth nice and healthy this holiday season, click here. You can also find tips from Idaho's dentists here.