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How To Prepare for a Mouth-Healthy Holiday

Posted November 20, 2017.

The holiday season is in full swing, and with it comes many responsibilities. If this is your first holiday season with braces, there may be some adjustments to be made. But don’t worry! Our team at Andolino Orthodontics is here to help you have a happy, healthy holiday.

De-Stress: Make sure that in between the hustle and bustle of the holidays that you are taking time to unwind. De-stressing can be as simple as listening to calming music, doing some yoga or other stretches, or meditating for 15-30 minutes. Body tension often manifests itself in clenching or grinding teeth, which can make them dull and flat, and damage tooth enamel. It can also lead to microscopic cracks in your teeth, opening them up to bacteria and decay.  Our office has a basic meditation guide available; contact us for a copy. Our team would love to help you de-stress during the holidays.

Adequate Sleep: Be sure to get adequate sleep. A lack of sleep affects many areas of the brain, including the amygdala, hippocampus, and neocortex. Together, these regions mediate emotional, cognitive, and memory function–which can all be impaired due to lack of sleep. Lack of sleep impairs your mouth health, as well. The Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine conducted a study that concluded that sleep deprivation was the number 2 cause of periodontitis, or swelling of the gums (the number 1 cause was smoking). The Emory School of Medicine found an increase of inflammatory hormones among sleep-deprived subjects. One such inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, was found to be 25% higher in sleep deprived patients than those who had gotten a healthy amount of sleep. For a healthy smile, get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

A Breath of Fresh Air: Take one look at Central Park covered in a fresh coat of snow, and you’ll understand why holiday time in New York City can be so amazing. Take advantage of the holiday activities with open-air ice skating rinks, outdoor festivals, or even just a winter stroll through the park. These activities will help mood, energy levels, and overall body health as you participate in the wonder of the holiday season.

Beverages:  The holidays can bring many acidic beverages–soft drinks, cider, wassail, punch, and wine, champagne, or other alcoholic drinks. Coating your teeth in acid is bad for them; therefore, accompany all acidic beverages with a large glass of water to clean your mouth. Also be aware that alcohol and alcoholic beverages contribute to dehydration, so drinking water along with it is a good idea for your overall wellness. If you do choose to drink alcohol, please do so responsibly.  

Eat Braces-Friendly Foods: While there are a lot of foods that people with braces can enjoy, there are also many holiday foods that are damaging to braces. Caramel, candy canes, popcorn, and pecan pie all make the list, to name but a few. Avoid these foods to help prevent breaking your braces. Though not a part of everyone’s holiday, it should be noted that turmeric (a spice found in many curry blends and masala) may stain braces and Invisalign aligners. Try to avoid this spice, commonly found in Indian and Middle Eastern foods.

For more information, contact Dr. Frank Andolino at Andolino Orthodontics in New York, New York. You can reach our team at 212-753-5575. We are here to help you enjoy your holiday!

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