Are the Holidays the Worst Time of Year for Teeth?

December 28, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — drronsherm @ 5:41 pm
Woman smiling in a Santa hat

The holidays have a reputation among people who care for their oral health as the worst time of year for your teeth. It’s become customary to schedule a routine checkup and cleaning in January to undo any damage they might have done.

While it’s not possible to definitively pick out the worst time of year for your oral health, there are definitely reasons to think it might be the end of the year. The holidays bring along hazards that can definitely make tooth decay and gum disease much more likely than usual. That said, there are steps you can take to decrease the risk of oral health problems. Here are some of the most common risks, and what you can do about them.

Why are the Holidays so Bad for Teeth?

When people get concerned about their dental care in December, it’s because one of two things is starting to slip. Either they’re worried about having a worse diet, or about letting their dental hygiene fall by the wayside.

For the former, there are many holiday foods that can cause problems for your teeth. Sugary drinks, candy, cakes, and pie are all standard at holiday dinner tables, and each of them can feed decay-causing bacteria in the mouth. The same goes for starchy foods—like stuffing and mashed potatoes—that saliva turns into sugars.

As for the latter, traveling can make it hard to keep up with dental hygiene. Between getting all packed up and toting your family from location to location, brushing your teeth can fall pretty low on the list of your priorities. This tendency to neglect your hygiene when you visit family might be why so many people schedule cleanings for when the new year starts.

How Do I Protect My Teeth During the Holidays?

Both of the problems listed above can present challenges to your oral health, but fortunately, there are steps you can take to make the holiday season better for your teeth.

Keeping in mind the foods that can cause problems for your teeth allows you to make substitutes. For example, while you might want to stay away from sticky berry pies, sweet potato pies won’t cling to your teeth in the same way. They also contain vitamins A, C, and B6, each of which can contribute to good oral health. Keeping up your dental hygiene can also be easier if you prepare beforehand. Picking up a travel dental kit can make taking care of your teeth on the go much more feasible.

It’s not clear whether the holiday season is actually the worst for your teeth, but if you’re concerned about the state of your oral health come January, it might be good to get a checkup at the start of the new year.

About the Author

Dr. Ron Sherman is a dentist with over 33 years of experience who loves forming personal connections with members of his community. He doesn’t want his patients to just accept what he has to say—he’ll always be happy to walk you through his reasoning, so you can understand fully how he developed the treatment plan he has in mind. Dr. Sherman received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Pittsburgh, and since then he has always been on the lookout for ways to stay up to date on the latest in oral medicine. If you have any questions about how to take care of your health this holiday season, he can be reached at his website or by phone at (425) 391-4964.

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