Halloween can be hard on your teeth and your family’s teeth. All that delicious candy (hopefully!) doesn’t disappear overnight. But Halloween is basically just the start of the holiday season. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, tasty treats and snacks are everywhere. All that snacking can cause tooth problems if you and your family members aren’t careful. Follow these tips from Bell Dental Group in Cincinnati, OH to avoid tooth problems this holiday season.
If It’s Not A Routine, It Needs To Be
Brushing and flossing are your first line of defense against tooth decay and gum disease. Generally, thoroughly brushing twice a day and flossing once is considered adequate for most people.
The goal of brushing and flossing is to remove plaque from the gum line and between the teeth. Plaque is a thin, sticky film that is formed by bacteria in the mouth that combine with saliva. That keeps bacteria in close contact with the teeth. When those bacteria feed off the sugars in our foods and beverages, they secrete acids. Those acids eat away at tooth enamel and irritate the gums resulting in tooth decay and gum disease.
Holiday treats are often loaded with sugar. They’re basically a buffet for bacteria which is why stepping up your oral hygiene routine during the holidays is a good idea.
Plaque begins to reform within 24 hours after being removed. Brushing twice a day and flossing once helps to keep plaque from getting a foothold. Be sure to rinse you mouth thoroughly after you’re done to remove any loosened plaque.
Choose Your Weapons Wisely
Not all toothbrushes or toothpastes are created equal. Plaque is soft and easily removed in its early stages. There’s absolutely no benefit to choosing a toothbrush with hard bristles. In fact, hard bristles can irritate and damage your gums, so there’s good reason to go with soft.
The size and shape of the toothbrush head is also important. There are lots of nooks and crannies in the mouth, and the ones at the back can be hard to reach. Choose a brush with smaller head so that you can more easily reach all the places in your mouth.
Dental floss is pretty much a matter of preference. There’s no evidence that unwaxed floss is better at loosening plaque than waxed floss. Nor is there any proof that ribbon floss is better than narrow floss.
Just remember to use a gentle hand when you brush and floss. Brushing too hard can wear away your dental enamel over time. Flossing too hard can irritate or even cut your gums, and that’s the last thing you want.
Rinse, Rinse, Rinse
Whenever possible, don’t let food particles hang around between your teeth. When you can’t brush or floss – for instance, while you’re at a party – find some water and swish it vigorously and thoroughly around your mouth to remove those potential sugar sources. Water is preferred because sugared beverage kind of defeat the purpose, and carbonated beverage can be hard on your tooth enamel.
We’re Here When You Need Us
If you follow these tips, you and your family will hopefully avoid any tooth problems over the holidays. But if should a problem arise, you can count on Bell Dental Group. Call our Cincinnati, OH dental office at 513-802-9440.
You can also fill out our online form to request an appointment.