Oral Health Tips for a Merry Christmas!

Gingerbread Christmas day is one full of food and drinks packed with sugar and calories, which can be bad for your oral health. However, general dentist in Newberg, OR Dr. Jennifer McLeod and her team at Newberg Family Dental encourage patients to follow these helpful tips for healthy teeth this Christmas season.

1. Offer Alternatives to Sweets

Sweet and sugary food and drinks activate the naturally-occurring bacteria that live in our mouths. These bacteria feed off the sugar and produce the acids that harm teeth.

Instead of weighing down the Christmas table with cookies, candy and other Christmas favorites, balance it out by providing alternatives. Make sure there’s a veggie tray with crunchy carrots, celery and broccoli. The natural crunch can help clean teeth in between sugar cookies.

Along with vegetables and a an assortment of delicious dip, don’t forget to put out a few sources of protein. Meat like salami, chicken skewers or ham can provide a much needed source of protein to help balance out the sugar that everyone will be eating.

2. Set a Time Limit

It’s really tempting to graze all day during the Christmas season, but this puts our teeth more at risk of decay. Instead of leaving food out until all hours, set up specific times of the day to set the table for people to eat. These can be sit-down meals or buffet style, but it’s important that there is a definite beginning and ending to these times. This will help keep everyone from constantly reaching for food that’s high in sugar and fat.

3. Drink A Lot of Water

There are times when we feel hungry in which we just need to drink some water to rehydrate. Provide family and friends with plenty of water to help balance out all of the food and to wash away any sticky, sugary residue that might remain on teeth. Offer different natural ways to flavor their ice water, such as peppermint leaves or freshly cut lemon wedges for variety.

4. Keep Hands Busy

Christmas is traditionally a break for children and adults from school and work commitments. While this is a great time to relax, too much down time can mean overindulging in sweets. Engage family members and friends in games or toys received during the Christmas holiday. Offer sugar-free chewing gum while they play to keep both mouths and hands busy!

5. Practice Moderation

Moderation is an important concept that can be hard for kids to grasp. Set a good example by exhibiting balance, especially on your plate. Christmas treats are great, but don’t forget to “indulge” in foods that will help absorb all of that sugar. Fill your plate with healthy veggies and some protein, then sit down with family and friends to enjoy the Christmas season!

Dr. Jennifer McLeod, providing dental care in Newberg, OR, and her team at Newberg Family Dental wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Photo Credit: Trey Ratcliff via Compfight