Can you believe it’s already the middle of November? The holiday season is quickly approaching, and if you’re anything like me, your mind is constantly running through a never-ending to do list. Shopping lists, gift ideas, decorating needs, and social obligations might be preoccupying most of your waking thoughts (and some of your sub-conscious ones too). But before things get too hectic, I’d like to remind you of something else that deserves your attention this holiday season: your smile. Undoubtedly, you’ll want to look your best for the countless functions and pictures that are a part of this time of year. And because your smile is one of your best assets, here are a few pointers on how to keep your smile bright this holiday season.
Dr. George Shepley, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, recently told Everyday Health that “holiday get-togethers tend to lead people to consume sugary treats and drink alcoholic beverages more than usual.” He added that high stress levels and busy schedules often mean that people also neglect their oral hygiene. There are several steps you can take in order to reduce the risk of damage to your teeth. For example, refrain from swishing wine around in your mouth and try to drink water between glasses. This will help rinse the acid from your teeth, which can eat away at the enamel. Also, sugar is known to promote the growth of cavity-causing bacteria, and holiday goodies are usually full of the stuff. So while you may be tempted to indulge often, try to limit these treats and brush or floss after consuming them. If this isn’t possible, try to chew a piece of sugarless gum or drink some water after enjoying. This will increase saliva flow and help wash away the bacteria. In addition, Shepley warned of the harm that can come from teeth grinding or jaw clenching that often accompanies stress. “Finding ways to alleviate your anxiety can help, but it’s also important to see your dentist, who can recommend solutions like a custom night guard.”
In addition to protecting your teeth from the pitfalls of the holiday season, you can also easily improve your smile with simple cosmetic dental procedures. One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your smile is teeth whitening. Your dentist likely offers at home or in-office options depending on your needs and your budget. If you have chipped, crooked, or missing teeth, consider dental veneers, tooth sculpting, or bonding. It’s truly amazing how a bright, white smile can impact your overall look. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today, and find out how you can improve your smile and look your best this holiday season.