Enamel Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Holiday Smile

Festive toffees. Bottomless bubbles. The most wonderful time of the year has so much to offer. But what about your teeth? The holidays can be a minefield for your teeth, especially with everyone’s good routines being disrupted by travel and festive events. It would be great if you could take your dental clinic with you for emergency professional cleanings and chip repairs, but it’s not exactly practical. What is the intrepid holidaymaker to do to maintain healthy teeth and a dazzling smile?

Never fear! This comprehensive guide will highlight which foods to moderate, how to manage dental hygiene when you’re away from home, and how to create a healthy routine pre- and post-holiday season.

Acid, Sugar & Stains: Foods to Moderate

The holidays are filled with delicious things, but it’s always good to be mindful about what you put in your mouth. It might be tempting to indulge more in some of your favourite drinks, like coffee, tea, and wine, but all three contain lots of tannins, which stain your teeth. Many dark- or brightly-coloured foods like berries or tomatoes can cause staining on your teeth. Acidic foods also eat away at your enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to staining.

Fortunately, you don’t need to avoid the merriment altogether! You can look after your dental health by making small changes here and there. It’s all about balance.

Apart from limiting your consumption of these foods and keeping up good brushing habits, there are a few ways to prevent stains. Fibrous fruits and vegetables help to break down stain-causing bacteria on your teeth. It may come as a surprise, but sugar-free gum can be extremely helpful in preventing staining, especially if it contains xylitol. Chewing gum produces extra saliva, diluting and washing away staining bacteria, while xylitol makes the surface of your teeth “slipperier” and harder to stick to. You can also ask your dentist or dental hygienist whether a whitening toothpaste will work for you.

Try to stay away from hard or very sticky treats while you’re at it. Not only can they chip and damage your teeth, but sticky foods can pull out fillings and damage implants. Hard foods can crack your teeth, which can have very serious consequences if not treated. On that note: your teeth aren’t all-purpose tools, so don’t use them that way – grab a pair of scissors or a knife to open your gifts instead!

Watching what you choose to snack on goes further than the aesthetics. If your enamel is weakened by too many sugary or acidic foods and drinks, this can cause cavities. Drinking lots of water can help wash away the remnants of your meals and snacks before they cause trouble. If you can, rinsing your mouth within half an hour of eating can make a big difference.

How to Maintain Dental Health While Travelling

Whether it’s a year-end function or a resort getaway, there are many reasons to show your smile during the festive season. It can be tough not having your dental hygienist nearby while you travel to make sure your pearly whites are looking their best. Maintaining good dental health habits while you’re on the road is the best thing you can do to keep your teeth healthy and happy all festive season long.

No matter what you’re up to this holiday, the best thing you can do is maintain a routine. You might not be in your own bathroom, but don’t let your twice-daily brushing slide. A proper brush only takes two minutes, and you’ll regret not doing it when you wake up the next morning with extra-smelly morning breath and a mouth that feels like things are growing in it. Trust us: prevention is definitely better than cure. Always let your toothbrush dry fully before you put it away to prevent mould and other undesirables.

While you’re travelling, giving your teeth the five-star treatment they get at home can be challenging. Pack a mini floss and a travel-sized mouthwash into your hand luggage if you’re flying so you can keep things minty-fresh until you reach your destination. Should you find that you’ve forgotten your toothpaste, you can brush your teeth with water until you have the chance to buy some. If you have a bite plate or night guard, take it with you and wear it to bed, even if you’re out late. These little things will keep your teeth on the shiny-white and narrow even when you’re out getting jolly.

Make Time for a Dental Detox

The holidays are a time for festive feasting, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Caring about your dental health doesn’t mean you have to turn into a stick in the mud. However, just like we do in other areas of life, we also need a refresh on our dental health every new year.

To get started on your dental detox, schedule a check-up before you clock off for the holidays. A professional deep cleaning by a dental hygienist will get your holidays off on the right foot, ensuring your teeth are clean, happy and photo-ready. Once the celebrations are over, try to avoid acidic, sugary, and staining foods for two weeks. This will help your oral health reset with the support of professional dental care.

If you do suffer a tooth casualty over the festive season, make an appointment at a dental clinic as soon as you can. A dentist can check the extent of the problem and take any actions required to minimise the long-term damage. Even if all they do is stabilise the situation until you can get an appointment with your dentist in the new year, your teeth will thank you.

Schedule Your 2024 Dental Health Assessment

Make your dental health a priority over the festive season. From packing your essentials into your luggage to making informed decisions about food and drink, choose to protect your teeth and gums this holiday. Even if you don’t follow a 100% perfect routine, being mindful of your teeth will stand you in good stead for the coming year. And don’t forget to floss!

Ready to schedule your 2024 appointment? Our team of dentists and dental hygienists at Enamel Clinic are waiting to welcome you back on your dental health journey. In the meantime, enjoy your holiday festivities and raise a glass to a new year of excellent dental care!