Maintaining a Healthy Holiday Smile

Blue Eyed Woman Smiling

There is nothing quite like a smile to express joy and excitement during the holiday season. While most folks are focused on gatherings, gifts, and grub, dentists and dental hygienists everywhere are focused on the impact all the extra treats have on your oral health. Here are a few tips to help you keep your routine in check (and maybe even amp it up a little), so your smile shines brighter than the holiday lights.

The Basics

The holidays are fun and exuberating, but present a major disruption to the average individual’s schedule. This goes for adults and children alike. School is out, businesses are closed, there’s a greater focus on family, but not so much on routine things. Sugary foods abound, and temptation is everywhere. Don’t let this cause you or your kids to skip your basic oral hygiene routine, which should include:

  • Brushing at least twice a day.
  • Flossing daily.
  • Replacing your toothbrush regularly.
  • Eating a healthy diet.

You should already be following a basic routine such as this, but it never hurts to review and refresh your brushing technique. Considering reviewing how you brush your teeth each time you replace your toothbrush, as sometimes science or technology leads to updated recommendations. It’s also important to replace your toothbrush after an illness to avoid reinfection or infecting other family members.

Advanced Care

If sticking with the basics is no problem for you, consider improving your routine based on your specific needs. Certain foods and beverages, including alcohol and soft drinks, can wreak havoc on your mouth by depleting your body of other vitamins and minerals. The holidays certainly provide more of these temptations and make eating healthy a challenge. If you’ll be indulging, consider adding these steps to your basic routine to enhance your oral health:

  • Use flouride mouthwash or toothpaste regularly, along with brushing and flossing.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Use whitening products sparingly and with caution.

While some of these tips may seem obvious, or include things you already incorporate into you routine, it’s important to approach them consciously. It can be especially tempting to misuse whitening agents when preparing for a big holiday gathering. Use any whitening products as directed to avoid aggravating overly sensitive teeth and the potentially damaging effects.

Specialized Needs

Actively maintaining a healthy routine for teeth and gums during the holidays is also important for those with specialized oral health needs. Tobacco or drug use can be hard on your mouth in several ways, but the most visible effects are severe staining and decay. Some prescription drugs, including certain kinds of antibiotics, as well as illicit drugs like methamphetamines are also notorious for permanently damaging teeth. Other circumstances may also require special consideration and care. If you have specialized oral care needs, consider the following:

  • Discuss your oral care needs with your physician and your dentist.
  • Avoid whitening products, which may cause additional sensitivity or issues.
  • Discuss tobacco cessation options with your healthcare provider.
  • Discuss prescription options that limit tooth damage with your physician.

Maintaining proper oral care for your condition, and continuing to take any prescription medications as directed is crucial to your health. Those with permanent damage should avoid whitening agents altogether unless recommended by a dentist, as often they will have no impact on the discoloration. However, if you no longer use drugs or tobacco, cosmetic dentistry can permanently repair the appearance of your smile.

Regardless of age or where you fall on the spectrum of oral health care needs, maintaining your routine during the holidays is the key to a healthy smile. Focusing on a nutritious diet and avoiding foods or substances that cause decay or permanent damage will also help you maintain a healthy body and mind during the holidays or any time of year.

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To learn more, visit Dr. Mary Peebles-Turner,DDS and her team at This dedicated team cares for patients in Broomfield, Colorado.