As soon as the last Halloween costume is bagged up for the year, the start of the holiday season seems to arrive. With November come cooler temperatures, and falling, swirling leaves. This time of year also brings social gatherings indoors a little more, and big, hearty meals composed of delicious seasonal dishes become a part of everyday life. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, for most of us it's properly chilly outside, and the perfect time to gather the family and give thanks for all we have. No matter what your eating habits are during the rest of the year, everyone cheats a little bit through the holiday season. Never fear; there is plenty you can do to protect your teeth from the traditional sweets and treats of Thanksgiving.
Keep Up the Good Work
The most important thing to remember about taking care of your teeth during Thanksgiving and the holiday season is to keep up your normal oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing three times per day is more important now than ever, because of the influx of extra sugars and acids that cause cavities. It’s OK to brush an extra couple of times if you’ve eaten something really sugary and sticky, or otherwise harmful to your teeth.
Rinse and Floss
If brushing after lunch isn’t possible and you’re exposed to a lot of sugary food throughout the day, rinse and floss. It might seem simple, and it is, but it goes a long way in terms of oral care. It reduces the amount of time the decay-causing materials are left in the mouth to do their dirty work on teeth. So after Aunt Edna guilt trips you into trying a slice of her chocolate cherry cheesecake, rinse your mouth with water, floss, and then rinse again. For extra protection, swish with an antibacterial mouthwash.
Grazing Your Way to Gingivitis
It’s hard not to when food is always lovingly prepared and beautifully displayed at every relative's home, everywhere you turn, week after week – but it's important not to graze. Grazing is for cows. It’s when you have just a bite of this, or a helping of that, all throughout the day, that this time of year can be terrible for your teeth. Grazing constantly keeps food remnants in your mouth, and on your teeth.
Drink plenty of water. Humans are supposed to drink at least eight glasses a day, and this time of year is no exception. Drinking a lot of water not only keeps you feeling fuller longer, but also keeps your mouth rinsed free of food particles. It’s a smart idea not only to drink water between meals, but during them as well. Replace sugary soft drinks and punches with water whenever you can.
It isn’t hard to take care of your teeth during Thanksgiving. The main thing to remember is that we eat and drink in different ways, when our normal routines are replaced by the fun and celebration of the holidays. Taking the time to adjust in order to compensate for these changes can save you a lot of pain – and money – from cavities and other dental issues.