There is little doubt that holiday sweets are a yummy vise, to which we can all agree. But, have you ever stopped to think about their impact on your teeth and gums. During the holiday season, you might be tempted to snack on more cookies, cakes, and candies, causing an uptick in your sugar intake. The sugars cling to your teeth and mouth, resulting in a food source for damaging bacteria. These bacteria are one of the main causes of cavities and potential sore gums. Left unchecked, eating sugar during the holidays could leave you with an extra surprise, a cavity or two. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure your continued oral health during and after the holidays.
Look for Signs of Cavities
There are telltale signs you can monitor during the holidays, and throughout the year, to make sure you don’t have developing oral health concerns. A good example of a common oral health issue is bleeding gums after brushing. Healthy gums don’t typically bleed unless you brush too hard. If your brushing habits haven’t changed, then the bleeding may be a sign of inflammation or gingivitis, which could be the beginning stages of gum disease.
Bad breath is another general sign of a potential oral health issue. There are many things that can cause bad breath, but one of the most common is bacteria. Plaque is a film of bacteria which builds up on the teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing regularly can effectively remove plaque, improving your oral health.
Bad breath may also be an indicator of decay. Tooth decay, which is also known as a cavity, can be the result of the bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria produce an acid which eats away at the enamel on teeth – eventually allowing for cavities.
Finally, sores or swollen gums, or ulcers in the mouth could be indicators of an infection. Built-up bacteria may create cavities that can cause infections within the tooth, or possibly aggravate the soft tissue of the gum.
Signs of Good Oral Health
If you take good care of your oral hygiene, then you should see the signs of a healthy mouth, such as:
- Pink gums
- Stable teeth
- Neutral breath
- No bleeding when brushing
- No bleeding when flossing correctly
However, some oral health issues are harder to detect. Visiting your dentist regularly can keep potential problems from developing into significant issues.
Visit Your Dentist After the Holidays
What can you do to keep cavities from forming throughout the year? It starts with making sure you have a solid oral health routine. You should brush at least twice a day for two minutes, floss daily, and use an ADA approved toothpaste.
With the start of a new year, why not evaluate your sugar intake. Consider your soda consumption. Replacing soda with water is a great beginning. Also avoiding processed sugar from cakes and cookies will help improve your overall health.
Finally, schedule a cleaning with your dentist, especially if you are having problems which may indicate cavities or other dental health issues like sensitive teeth or bleeding gums. Ideally, you should visit your dentist every six months. This will assist in catching small oral health issues before they turn into more complicated problems.
Make an Appointment at Columbia Smiles
Columbia Smiles is a prominent practice that has served Howard County residents for over 35 years.
We offer regular dental exams and cleanings in addition to premier dental services, such as:
- Filling cavities
- Dental veneers and other cosmetic procedures
- Dental repair from trauma
- Teeth whitening
- Wisdom teeth consultations
If you are looking for a family dentist in Columbia, MD, give our office a call at 410.690.4855 or contact us online. The staff at Columbia Smiles is ready to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy.