The holiday season is a time for joy but also a time for dental problems. With the mass supply of sweets, stress, and presents, your teeth are at high risk for cavities, tooth decay, and damage. Collins Dentistry and Aesthetics in Spokane Valley is here to help you keep your mouth happy and healthy through the holiday season with these 5 tips from Dr. Ken and Marnie Collins.

Christmas Nutcracker standing at attention

1. Don’t Use Your Teeth as a Nutcracker

Our first tip for keeping your mouth healthy during the holiday season is to not use your teeth as a nutcracker. There’s a reason nutcrackers exist and your teeth are one of them. While it might feel tempting to crack open your favorite holiday nuts using your teeth, it might actually harm your teeth in the process. Although the protein found in nuts are great to keep your bones and muscles strong, it’s not wise to use the strength of your teeth to shell nuts. Buy unshelled nuts when you can or use your hands or a nutcracker otherwise.

2. Skip Chewy Treats

Caramels, taffy, peanut brittle and other chewy treats fill the holiday season with sugary joy. Steering clear of chewy candies can help you prevent yourself from pulling a filling out in the process. In addition, sticky and chewy candies are a pain to remove from your teeth and when they stick to your enamel, they can cause tooth decay. Unless you’re confident you will brush your teeth right after consuming, skip the chewy treats to benefit your dental health.

3. Use Tools Not Teeth

Every year it seems more and more presents come lined in some sort of plastic. While you might feel excited to rip open your new presents, it’s important to remember that your teeth are for chewing, not to use as tools. If you have a present that is hard to open, grab a pair of scissors or a box cutter to assist you.

4. Don’t Chew Hard Candy or Ice

Chewing on hard candy or ice is a one-way ticket to chipping or cracking your teeth. Do yourself a favor and let the hard candy or ice dissolve naturally. Hard candy is also known to cause tooth decay since it coats all of your teeth in sugar. In addition, ice cubes may cause sensitive teeth or discomfort.

5. Avoid Biting Your Nails

Although the holidays can feel stressful, don’t use this as an excuse to dive back into a nail-biting habit. Biting your nails when you feel anxious is bad for your nails and teeth. In addition, it’s linked to grinding, clenching, facial pain, jaw problems, and sensitive teeth. To break your nail-biting habit, wear bitter nail polish or get acrylic nails to prevent yourself from biting them.

During the holiday season, if a dental problem does happen to pop up. Don’t hesitate to give Collins Dentistry and Aesthetics a call at (509) 927-2273 or reach out to us via our online form to schedule an appointment to address your dental problems. We’re happy to help!