One of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday season is the gift of a healthy smile. Maintaining good oral hygiene all year long is very important, but during the holidays, it has proven to be a little more challenging.

During the holidays, we tend to indulge ourselves more than usual on sugary treats and alcoholic beverages. Combining this with busy schedules and increased stress, we have noticed that many patients have a harder time maintaining their oral hygiene. It is important to remember that basic, routine care can combat the effects of holiday food and drinks.

Here are some tips to keep your smile merry and bright:

Wine

Wine, both red and white, can have high levels of acidity that attack the enamel of your teeth. Tooth enamel is essential for protecting teeth from decay and wear. To avoid damage, don’t swish the wine around in your mouth, and drink water throughout the evening to rinse the teeth.

Sugary Treats

Holiday goodies affect more than just your waistline. Candy, cookies, and chocolate stimulate acid production by bacteria and increase the likelihood of developing cavities. It is important to brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating these sweet treats.

Stress

Stress levels always seem to be particularly high during the holidays, leading people to knowingly or unknowingly clench or grind their teeth. Clenching and grinding lead to a host of problems including headaches, jaw pain and tooth wear (such as chipping). While it is important to find ways to alleviate stress, many times a custom nightguard can save you from discomfort and long-term damage to the teeth. If you already have a nightguard, be sure to wear it.

Keep a healthy smile at the top of your wish list! Remember to floss daily and brush at least twice a day plus keep up with your regular maintenance visits.