The end of the year is a busy but festive time for most people. You may have plans to visit family members or take a much-needed vacation. You could be arranging parties, doing lots of shopping, and so much more. During this fast-paced time of year, it could become all too easy to make mistakes that put your oral health at risk. Here are a few travel tips from a dentist to help you keep your smile healthy while you enjoy all that this special season has to offer.
Be Choosy About What You Eat and Drink
When you visit Mom and Dad for a family get-together, you know delicious food is going to be involved. Unfortunately, many popular seasonal goodies are major dangers to your teeth. For example, candies like peanut brittle or divinity could get stuck between your teeth and expose them to sugar for long periods of time. Hard treats, such as candy canes, might even break your teeth if you bite down on them wrong. Sipping on sugary drinks, like apple cider or eggnog, can increase plaque production in your mouth.
To avoid falling victim to such hazards, make a plan for your diet while you are celebrating the season. Indulge in moderation, only eat the treats that you truly love, and maintain a good oral hygiene routine.
Use the Right Tools
When you are traveling, or you are just in a hurry to get things done, it might be tempting to use your teeth as a tool to open packages or trim your fingernails. Doing so could easily cause your teeth to break and lead to an emergency visit to your dentist’s office. It’s a good idea to invest in a small multi-tool that has a knife, scissors, and other useful gadgets.
Keep Your Stress Under Control
As much as you enjoy traveling during this time of year, it might also cause you some stress. Stress, in turn, may cause you to grind and clench your teeth, which can quickly damage your enamel and make your jaw ache. Try to keep your stress to a minimum by planning your travels and festivities as thoroughly as possible, and by not waiting until the last minute to do any necessary shopping. If you find that you are grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep, talk to your dentist about getting a custom nightguard to protect your smile.
Schedule a Checkup
A pre-travel dental checkup can let you know if you have any developing oral health issues that might cause a problem while you are away. If you do not have time to visit your dentist before you leave, you may decide to schedule a checkup for after you get home so you can start the new year off with a fresh and clean smile.
Year-end travels can be delightful — but they can also pose a threat to your smile. When you are planning for your December getaway, don’t forget to also plan to protect your teeth!
About the Author
Dr. Erick Anderson is a general and emergency dentist who has been in private practice in Colorado Springs since 2002. He always seeks to build good relationships with his patients and help them achieve and maintain oral health year after year. If you would like to speak to Dr. Anderson about how you can protect your smile throughout this season and well into the future, contact our office at 719-593-0988.