Holiday Dental Tips Worth Smiling About

With temperatures starting to drop and holiday invitations popping up on calendars, it’s safe to say the holiday season is upon us once again. But along with the bright lights and joyful reunions with family and friends, the holidays can also mean something else: stress. Before you let the shopping, travel planning, food preparation and need to be in 20 places at once weigh too heavily on your mind, take a moment to slow down and pay attention to your health – especially your oral health.

Tooth Grinding

Stuck in gridlock in the mall parking lot? Trying to politely sit through another critique of your casserole by your mother-in-law? Nobody would fault you for grinding your teeth. In fact, you may not even realize you’re doing it. But if you are, you could be causing irreparable damage to your teeth!

Whether you know you’re a tooth-grinder or suspect you may be (do you have unexplained pitted or cracked teeth, worn teeth, or a sore jaw?) give Dr. George’s office a call to be evaluated for a custom-fit mouth guard. We can help you protect your teeth when life’s little stressors take control. In the meantime, try to avoid grinding your teeth. Try placing your tongue between your upper and lower jaw, or practice deep breathing exercises to help slow your heart rate and calm you down.

Travel Tooth-Care

Traveling a lot this holiday season? Don’t forget to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, and if you lose or forget them, make sure you replace them as soon as possible. It can be hard to stick to your usual routine when you’re in a hotel or a guest bedroom, or when you return home too exhausted to think straight. But skipping even just one brushing can leave your teeth vulnerable to cavities and infection. If you think you’ll be home too late to brush, pack a travel kit and make a point to brush and floss before heading home, then try not to eat or drink anything but water after that.

Keep Your Teeth as White as Drifting Snow

Whether you’re attending a big party or a small get-together this holiday season, chances are you’re going to have your picture taken at least once. If you’re worried about how white your teeth appear in photos, there are a few things you can do to ensure they remain as white and bright as a fresh snowfall. If you’re ready to get a jump on the holidays, now is the perfect time to book an Advanced Zoom whitening procedure with Dr. George. We also carry professional, at-home whitening kits for use at your convenience. Give the office a call at 724-934-3422 to discuss pricing.

If you’re happy with the color of your smile but don’t want to risk it getting darker during holiday celebrations, try these tips.

  • Avoid dark liquids like red wine, coffee or colas
  • Brush your teeth with a travel brush after eating, chew sugarless gum, or rinse with water to make sure no food particles find their way onto your teeth (and into your photo!)
  • Wear a lipstick with a blue undertone to help neutralize the yellow undertone in your teeth

Put Your Health First

Life can get busy this time of year, but don’t put your oral health on the back burner. If you’re due for a dental exam, make your appointment well in advance of the holidays, and stick to it. Don’t let last-minute plans convince you to cancel your annual dental cleaning. Your teeth will look and feel better, too!

Keep Your Family’s Teeth in Mind During Open Enrollment Season

The end of the year doesn’t just mean holidays – it also may mean open enrollment for medical and dental insurance, and time to reload HSA and FSA plans. Make sure you have adequate coverage for yourself and your dependents, and that when you determine how much to add to your HSA/FSA plan, you factor in dental costs as well. Funds from these plans can cover everything from fillings to braces to prescription toothpastes.

And if you’ve got leftover FSA and HSA money from 2017, make sure you spend it by Dec. 31, 2017, or you will lose that money when the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1. You can use these funds on many over-the-counter dental products, as well as some in-office treatments that you may have been putting off. If you’re unsure whether your health care savings plan covers a procedure, give Dr. George’s office a call at 724-934-3422 and we can help you make sense of it.

Remember, the holiday season is meant to be a time of celebration and joy, not stress and worry. When you take care of your oral health, that’s one less thing to stress you out, so don’t discount the value of a little self-care this winter!

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on November 9th, 2017