The holidays are a time of joy, warmth, and family, but they can also be stressful and distracting and hard on your dental health—not to mention your overall health—for any number of reasons. If you have holiday travel in your future, it’s especially important to take some time to plan how you’ll continue to take care of your health while you’re out of your natural element and away from your normal routine. Fortunately, your Overland Park dentist has a few tips that can help you get through holiday travel—and any other travel—and come out smiling!
Stick to your regular brushing and flossing routine! This is job #1. Whether you’re taking a trip to someplace warmer or just driving to Grandma’s house, don’t let your holiday travel interfere with brushing and flossing every day. One way to help keep yourself in the habit is to put together a dental travel kit containing a toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste, floss, and maybe some of those handy pocket flossers, so you can brush or floss wherever you go. Pack some sugar-free chewing gum, too, for those times when you can’t brush right away.
Take it easy on the sticky sweet stuff. There are always plenty of sugary treats available around the holidays. They’re something we look forward to all year! But when you’re partaking, go easy on anything that’s sticky and sweet such as marshmallows, gumdrops, caramel, peanut brittle, candy canes, and so on. If you do eat something sticky, be sure to brush and floss as soon as you can!
Watch what you drink. Warm drinks feel great when it’s cold outside, but many seasonal beverages are hard on your teeth, including hot chocolate, eggnog, coffee, wine, and so on. And when you’re at holiday parties, you may be drinking more of the usual tooth-harming culprits, such as soda or other sugary drinks. Always enjoy these beverages in moderation, and be sure to intersperse them with plenty of water so that you stay hydrated.
Snack smart. It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday moment and enjoy foods that you typically avoid all the rest of the year. And that’s okay in small doses. Just be mindful of what you’re eating and what you’ve eaten the rest of the day, especially when you’re traveling and meals are catch-as-catch-can. Options such as cheese, fresh fruits, or hummus can be healthy alternatives to sugary snacks!
Keep moving. Many of us struggle to get enough exercise throughout the year, and the holidays make it even harder. The weather is cold, the days are short, and travel and holiday stress can keep even the most disciplined among us from working out. Still, take what opportunities you can to get in some movement, especially if you’re traveling in a car or plane for long stretches. Even if you’re simply walking a little farther on that trip to the store, every little bit helps!
Choose a buddy. No matter what you may be trying to accomplish this holiday season, it’s always easier to stick to your routine, watch what you eat, and get plenty of exercise when you have a spouse, friend, family member, or sibling to help. Use the buddy system to help keep each other honest and on top of things, and you’ll get through the holidays in great shape!
It’s also important that you not neglect regular visits to your Overland Park dentist, even during the busy holiday season! If you need an appointment this holiday season, call Watts Family Dental at (913) 338-3384!