What Winter Holidays Can do to Your Mouth (and How to Save it)

The holidays are gearing up, which means it’s time for parties, presents and mistletoe! Although oral health may be the last thing on your mind, ‘tis the season to be thinking about it.

With the drastic weather changes and holiday treats, this time of year can wreak havoc on your mouth if you’re not careful. Fortunately, you can follow some simple steps to prevent any issues that may take away from your Christmas cheer.

Here are some common holiday oral issues to look out for (and how to treat them):

Chapped Lips

Changing weather and dry winter air usually result in tight and peeling skin, especially in the delicate area around your mouth. Chapped lips are a cold weather risk and, although they aren’t fatal, can still be uncomfortable to endure.

The best thing to do is take precautions that will prevent chapped lips. If you’re spending the day outside, apply ample amounts of lip balm. Be sure that whatever product you use contains at least SPF 15 to protect your lips from sun exposure. Drink plenty of water and keep yourself as hydrated as possible to stave off any dryness.

If your lips are already chapped, apply petroleum jelly or a non-petroleum alternative to keep them moisturized. They’ll stay hydrated and heal faster.

Sweet Treats

This time of year is famous for sweet treats. From gingerbread houses to sugar plums to candy canes to cookies, there are plenty of tempting sugar-filled treats to indulge in at every holiday party.

However, as we all know, sugar can wreak havoc on our teeth. It breaks down enamel and leaves your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities. Neither of which are fun to deal with during the holidays.

The best way to protect your teeth is by abstaining from sweets or at least enjoying them in moderation. Try to switch out some sweet choices for something high in vitamins and nutrients, like carrots, to balance effects of sugar. And brush the sugar residue away during at least twice a day brushings, maybe more often to eliminate it closer to when you ate the sugar.

Canker Sores

If you’re prone to canker sores, holiday treats could be exacerbating your symptoms. Foods high in acid or spice can irritate or cause canker sores, which are painful. Apple cider and spicy foods can cause an already tender sore to feel even worse, making it difficult to talk or even enjoy yourself.

It may be too late to try abstaining from the irritant foods, but you can try a natural treatment to reduce the pain. Swish or gargle a mixture of one teaspoon of salt with a half-cup of water to heal the sore. You can also purchase rinses that are specifically designed to speed up the healing process for canker sores.

To prevent canker sores from acidic and spice-filled foods, limit consumption of them and drink plenty of water.

No matter the weather or time of year, it’s always best to practice good oral hygiene. As busy as the holidays get, remember to brush thoroughly, floss and visit your dentist if you have any oral health concerns.

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