Bad Oral Health Habits Brought on By Holiday Stress

Whether you’re traveling or friends and family are visiting you for the holidays, this time of year brings on added stress to our daily lives. Don’t let being overextended affect your daily dental health habits by keeping these five tips in mind.

1. Be Mindful of Snacking
Nibbling on the dinner feast as it’s getting prepared, munching on holiday treats, or snacking on leftovers–we all do it. Instead of eating throughout the day, don’t let sugars linger in your mouth by eating the same amount of food in one sitting instead. When you are continually eating in multiple sittings, your mouth is constantly producing acid that attacks your teeth.

2. Consider Your Alcohol Intake
With so many reasons to celebrate during the holidays (you haven’t seen your best friend in a year, your cousin just got engaged or you’re just excited to be reunited with everyone), you may be toasting more frequently that normal. Just like candy and chocolate, alcoholic drinks contain as much sugar (or more), which means a party for bacteria in your mouth.

3. Don’t Put Yourself Last
Planning a gathering or shopping for hours to find the perfect gift can take a toll on your overall schedule, making you feel stressed out and overextended. When you put yourself before others, it’s easy to lose track of the last healthy meal you had or even the last time you flossed. Be sure to make time for yourself to maintain your overall health–oral health included–and stay healthy for all the fun holiday festivities ahead. Remember, your oral health has a huge impact on your overall health.

4. Always, Always Brush Before You Head to Bed
You’re exhausted and just want to plop into bed to sleep the night away. Sometimes slumber wins over brushing teeth and flossing, but don’t let this become a habit. When you miss brushing your teeth before you go to bed, the bacteria that have built up in the last few hours have another 8-10 hours to cause damage and ultimately cavities or gum disease. Not brushing your teeth regularly will cause tartar to build up, which will irritate your gums and can cause periodontal disease. Plus, you’ll have a much easier time cleaning your teeth without tartar buildup since the bacteria have less to cling to.

If you maintain your daily habits of brushing and flossing, you’re more likely to avoid getting a cold and will feel better overall.

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