If there’s one time of any year that practically everyone looks forward to, it would have to be the holidays.
After all, for most people, the holidays are synonymous with family get-togethers, gift-giving, and of course, lots of food and drinks.
Indeed, the holidays are the best time for merry-making. However, one dental emergency could put a damper on all that.
A cracked tooth, the sudden onset of a toothache, or an accident that knocks out several teeth are things you don’t want happening to you or anyone you care about during the most wonderful time of the year.
The problem is that, unlike us, dental emergencies don’t take a break during the holidays. They can happen to anyone at any time. A dental emergency can even hit you in the middle of Christmas dinner or a summer holiday.
No one wants to be on the receiving end of holiday emergency dental care. If you want to steer clear of any dental emergency during the holidays, here are some tips to help you do just that.
Bite Into Food With Care
With all the delectable dishes laid out in front of you it’s easy to get carried away.
Before you know it, you’d be wolfing down plate after plate, which shouldn’t really be a problem. After all, it’s the holidays, and you’re just eating stuff that you don’t eat all the time.
However, it would be best to be mindful of the hardness of the food you’re eating. You wouldn’t want to end up with a chipped or broken tooth or a bleeding mouth because you bit into a piece of meat with a bone shard you didn’t realize was there. The same goes for eating hard candy, nuts, or even popcorn.
Keep The Horseplay To A Minimum
Missing brothers or cousins so much you’d instinctively wrestle them to the ground like you used to when you were kids is perfectly normal, but you need to dial it back a little.
Any sort of horseplay could easily lead to a dental emergency like a cracked, or worse, a knocked-out tooth.
And if you’re the type of family that considers playing in Christmas Day football or basketball matches as tradition, make sure all of you are wearing mouth guards to protect your teeth.
Then again, with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, it’s best not to engage in any close-contact horseplay at all. The rough and rowdy greetings could wait for the next holiday season when we all hope the coronavirus has gone away.
Remember That Your Teeth Are Not Bottle Openers
Not all bottled beverages have screw-on caps. If your family bought bottled beer or soda with crown cork bottle caps for the gathering, resist the temptation to show off and open the bottles with your teeth.
Tooth enamel may be the hardest substance in your body, but it is no match for the metal used in bottle caps. If you’re in the habit of removing bottle caps with your teeth, it would only be a matter of time before you crack or chip a tooth.
In the same vein, you should also refrain from using your teeth to open packages or crack open a nut. There are scissors and nutcrackers for that.
Don’t Take A Break From Proper Oral Hygiene
You may be taking a break from work for the holidays, but you should never give practicing proper oral hygiene a rest.
With all the food and drinks available to you over the holidays, you’d be consuming high amounts of sugar. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and eventually convert it into acid, which will eat away at tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.
Before bacteria feasts on the sugar in your mouth, make sure you brush and floss after every meal. You could also use a mouthwash for good measure if you so choose.
Don’t Get Too Drunk
Without a doubt, the holiday parties and family gatherings you’ll be attending will ply everyone with alcohol, which is fine as long as you limit your consumption.
If you get carried away and end up having too much to drink, your risk of tripping, slipping, and falling will multiply, and so will your risk of suffering a dental emergency.
Most importantly, whatever you do, don’t even think about getting behind the wheel after a night of binging. When you drink and drive, you’re not just in danger of a dental emergency. You could also seriously hurt yourself, your passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists on the road by driving drunk.
Don’t let a dental emergency spoil your holidays. By following the tips above, your chances of coming out of the holiday season with all your teeth intact and your oral health in excellent condition will be pretty good.
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Dr. Gary Salwin leads the Glendale Dental Group, Arizona. He and his team treat dental emergencies and perform a whole range of dental services. He has been practicing dentistry for more than 36 years.