During the holidays, your thoughts naturally turn toward gift-giving, celebrating with friends and family – and delicious holiday foods. However, dental problems can bring your celebration to a painful halt. You don’t have to give up enjoying holiday treats to avoid dental emergencies. However, taking a few precautions now can prevent dental problems from ruining your holidays.
Maintain Regular Oral Hygiene
Maintaining a regular oral hygiene routine is essential all during the year. However, during the holidays, you often indulge in foods that you may not eat at other times of the year. Maintaining a regular oral hygiene routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing with an oral care rinse will help protect your teeth from the extra stress they may face during the holidays. If you wear dentures, maintain your regular routine of daily cleaning with products specially formulated for dentures – not regular toothpaste.
If you haven’t replaced your toothbrush recently, it’s a good idea to do so before the holiday season. Worn bristles can be less effective in cleaning your teeth. If you use an electric toothbrush or oral care utensil, ensure that the head is in good repair and that the mechanism is working properly.
Getting a dental appointment can be difficult during the holidays. If you encounter a dental emergency, it may be days before you can actually see a dentist or oral surgeon. Having a dental emergency kit on hand can minimize pain and reduce the chance of further damage to your teeth while you wait to see a dentist. Many drugstores have emergency dental repair kits that you can purchase, but you can assemble your own kit inexpensively. Include oral pain relief, temporary filling material, sterile toothpicks, and soft dental floss. If you wear dentures, acquire a denture repair kit to temporarily replace broken sections of your dentures.
In cases of extreme dental emergencies, have your dentist’s emergency contact information on hand. You should also learn the name and location of your nearest emergency dental clinic in case your regular dentist is unavailable. Determine whether the clinic will accept credit cards or your dental insurance (if you have it), or whether payment plans are available to avoid having to pay a potentially large dental bill upfront.
Dental Care While Traveling
If you are traveling out of town or abroad during the holidays, obtaining travel insurance that covers dental emergencies is an excellent idea. Include a dental emergency kit in your luggage to provide short-term relief while you wait to see a dentist. If you are traveling to the developing world, bring along enough of your own oral care products to last for your entire trip because they may not be readily available at your destination if you are traveling in an area where water quality is questionable, use bottled water to brush and rinse rather than tap water.
The hustle and bustle of the holidays can cause added stress – and stress can be potentially harmful to your dental health, according to David Cochran, president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). According to Cochran, who also serves as chair of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, stress is related to abuse of alcohol and tobacco. It can even contribute to the neglect of your oral hygiene. Along with maintaining a generally healthy diet and exercise routine, you should be especially vigilant about dental care during periods of stress to avoid periodontal disease.
Thousand Oaks Smile Design offers comfortable and effective treatments to help you achieve your oral health goals. Call 805-492-3553 today to schedule a FREE in-person consultation.