Top Smile-Saving Tips for the Holidays, According to Dentists

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As soon as the Halloween decorations come down, the holiday season kicks into full swing. Along with the merriment comes parties, dinners, festivals and lots of extra eating and drinking in a concentrated period of time. To get your smile ready for all the photos, parties and greetings in store, these top cosmetic dentists say there’s a short list of things you should and shouldn’t do to keep your smile sparkling all winter long.

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Don’t Skip Your Cleaning Appointment

“If you want a beautiful smile for your holiday pictures, start with having your teeth cleaned. Nothing beats a professional cleaning and polishing to establish a healthy baseline. If you can fit it in your holiday budget, in-office teeth whitening gets the best results in the shortest amount of time. If not, ask your dentist for a take-home whitening kit. It’s better and safer than most of the store or online products. Lastly, skip whitening toothpaste, or the ‘on the go’ whiteners as they don’t work as well as the whitening gel or even white strips.”

—New York cosmetic dentist Timothy Chase, DMD 

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Drink Water Between Sugary Drinks

“For the holiday season, I tell my patients to really enjoy their time, as this time only comes once a year. Really enjoy all your food and drink choices, but with moderation. Sugary drinks such as soft drinks and fruit drinks consist almost entirely of sugar. Many alcoholic drinks and the flavored coffee drinks that we love are also mostly sugar. We can enjoy these, but it’s important to drink water after to protect the teeth and remove the sugary residue to prevent any issues. The worst thing you can do is to sip a sugary drink— alcoholic or nonalcoholic—for a long period of time where the sugar will have time to linger on the teeth and cause tooth decay.”

—New York cosmetic dentist Husam Almunajed, DMD

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Chew Sugar-Free Gum After Sweets

“Tis the season to wine and dine! The holidays are a wonderful time marked with celebrations and gatherings and a lot of eating and drinking. Beyond the impact to our waistline there can be some significant impact to our teeth. Things like red wine, jams and jellies, and one of my holiday favorites, wassail, can have a significant detrimental impact to our teeth. One helpful tip is to chew a sugar-free gum with xylitol after to help clean your teeth and stimulate saliva production. And of course, brush and floss regularly to help maintain healthy teeth and gums through this holiday season.”

—Los Altos, CA cosmetic dentist Joseph Field, DDS

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Don’t Forget to Floss

“Eating less pigmented foods and rinsing with water after meals is the most natural preventative way to maintain white teeth. Coconut oil is the safest natural remedy. You essentially warm the pure coconut oil and rinse with it for 30 seconds. It can be helpful, but studies are not conclusive on the efficacy. A combination of flossing and using a water flosser is a great solution for limiting the amount of staining in between the teeth by irrigating it out.”

—Los Angeles cosmetic dentist Rhonda Kalasho, DDS

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