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The holidays are a wonderful time to see family and friends, get some quality relaxation, and – of course – eat! While it’s important to maintain healthy dental habits year-round, the holiday season can make it more difficult to make healthy decisions and keep up with your normal routine. Take a look at some easy tips to ensure that those pearly whites stay pearly through the New Year.

Be Mindful of the Sweets

When you fantasize about holiday dinner, many people’s mind will gravitate to dessert. While it’s perfectly fine to indulge, keep some ground rules in mind. For example, try to limit your sweets consumption as a whole. When you do, try to either brush soon after, chew some gum, or drink water to help rinse excess sugar from your mouth.

Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools

It may be tempting to use your teeth to open packages, bottles, or crack some chestnuts that were roasting on an open fire. But beware! Using your teeth as opening tools can almost be an invitation to tooth chipping, cracking, and other dental damage that can be just as expensive as it is painful. Don’t take shortcuts by skimping on proper tools!

Be Prepared before Traveling

If you’re traveling, make some preparations before you leave so that you’re ready in the unfortunate case of an emergency. Make sure to have the basics on hand, like your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, gauze, and pain relievers – just in case. If you have dental insurance, be sure that you have your policy number on hand in case you need to access it for dental care.

Breathe and Relax

While the holidays can be a time for much needed rest and relaxation, they can indeed also be a source of stress and anxiety. This is especially true if you’re traveling or hosting guests at your home. When many people get nervous, they have a tendency to grind and clench the teeth, which can lead to headaches, pain, and even chipping. Additionally, stress can make you more likely to indulge in sweet treats and other less healthy eating decisions.

Try practicing some healthy stress-relieving techniques like meditation and going for walks to clear your mind, in addition to planning ahead for possible road bumps in your holiday plan. Most importantly – have a happy, healthy holiday season!