16 Nov 6 Wishes For A Healthy Smile
The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. Leaves turn golden, the air is crisp, and the house is filled with aromas of sugar and spice and something nice in the oven. Friends and family gather; holiday parties, potluck lunches, and sugar-frosted cookies are shared at the office. We use our mouths excessively during the season to smile for photos, sing songs of joy, laugh with friends, and taste both sweet and savory. Fill your holiday season with warm and joyful moments while taking care to avoid spontaneous dental injuries to your mouth.
Enjoy chestnuts on an open fire but use a culinary nutcracker. We often use our teeth as a tool, and while enamel is the hardest substance in our body, using our teeth to crack open hard-shelled nuts can cause considerable damage including a broken tooth. A broken tooth exposes nerves to air and bacteria and requires repair. If you don’t have a nutcracker use pliers instead.
Candy Cane Crunch
Back in 1670 candy canes were given to German children to keep them quiet while the choir sang. Today, candy canes are used for decoration, shared at the office or eaten as a treat. We are tempted to use our molars to bite hard candies into smaller pieces. Molars are the widest and toughest teeth in the mouth but even these giants have their limits. An unexpected tooth fracture can cause irritation to soft tissue. Buy smaller-size treats that can slowly dissolve in your mouth.
Teeth as Scissors
It’s that moment during wrapping when we cannot find the scissors. Spontaneously we use the next sharpest tool, our teeth. Tape is light and flexible, yet it can still cause damage to your mouth. The adhesive on tape can dry out your mouth making it vulnerable to cavities. The thinness of the tape can cause a paper cut resulting in bleeding and an open wound that invites germs. Before you begin your project make sure your scissors are at hand.
From holiday decor to gifts for loved ones, or the crowd-rushing mob at Black Friday, shopping is common during the holidays. The excitement of buying something new makes us want it ‘now’. With the plastic price tag loop between our teeth, we grind back and forth until it breaks. This habit causes advanced wearing on teeth, divots, chips or a flat-out break. Gifts are fun to receive but keep the price tag in place until you have scissors for cutting.
Sweets, Treats, and Desserts
Across every culture, traditional foods are prepared in the spirit of the season. Cookie swaps are held, dishes are shared and sweet treats in jars are given as gifts. We talk, laugh, eat and drink. It’s part of being merry. The more we put into our mouths, the bigger the chance of introducing plaque-causing bacteria. Enjoy the desserts but remember the Daily4: Brush, Floss, Rinse and Chew.
All That Isn’t Merry
This wonderful time of the year can also bring on stress. To-do lists, preparing for relatives, planning a trip, or simply having no interest can increase stress-inducing habits. We bite our nails or grind our teeth. We drink more coffee or smoke more to calm our nerves. Take care to notice when bad habits kick in. Brush after drinking stain-causing beverages, trim nails and consider a night guard if teeth grinding is persistent.