Tis the season for indulging! Trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holidays can be a test for even the most disciplined person. Between your unthinkably tight holiday schedule and the temptations of unhealthy food and drink options, keep in mind certain oral risks this holiday season.

While they are a seasonal staple, try to avoid chewy treats and hard candies such as peanut brittles, candy canes and other sticky sweets. These types of candy cling to your tooth enamel, accelerating tooth decay and can even pull out fillings.  Since these candies are nearly unavoidable this time of year, eat them sparingly to save yourself a trip to the dentist.

Without being said, Halloween brings with it a lot of candy and sweets. The ADA’s Mouth Healthy website shares 12 Tips for a Healthy Halloween:

  1. Time It Right
  2. Stay Away from Sweet Snacks
  3. Choose Candy Carefully
  4. Avoid Sticky Situations
  5. Have a Plan
  6. Drink More Water
  7. Maintain a Healthy Diet
  8. Stay Away from Sugary Beverages
  9. Chew Gum with the ADA Seal
  10. Brush Twice a Day
  11. Clean Between Your Teeth
  12. Visit an ADA Dentist

Aside from candies, another holiday snack that can pose a potential oral accident is shelled nuts. While it can be tempting to crack these open using just your teeth, you will want to think twice before biting into a nutshell.  The hard outer surface of the shell can cause gum damage, as well as lead to cracked teeth. Your safest option is to shell any nuts before snacking.

There are non-food oral health risks as well.  Take extra caution when opening and wrapping gifts. As exciting as it is to unwrap a present or finally get that package you ordered weeks ago in the mail, your teeth are not the proper tool to rip it open with. Spare yourself the potential trip to the dentist and opt for the scissors.

Wishing happy and healthy holidays to all!