1. Don’t crack nuts with your teeth.
Although protein found in nuts helps keep muscles and bones strong, you shouldn’t test the strength of your teeth by shelling nuts with them. The hard surface of most nuts can cause serious tooth and gum damage, and may even crack teeth. The safest option? Shell nuts before snacking on them.
2. Pass on chewy treats.
Candy Platters during the holidays are often loaded with treats that can harm your teeth. Sticky substances cling to tooth enamel and encourage tooth decay, and thick candies like caramel and taffy can even yank out fillings. Eat these sweets sparingly and along with other foods to help keep the treats from sticking to your teeth.
3. Use proper tools to open packages and bottles.
We know you’re excited to rip into that gift from your great aunt, but your teeth are not the right tools for the task. Gripping a package or stubborn bottle cap with your teeth can crack them, possibly requiring a root canal procedure and a crown for repair. Give your mouth a great gift – reach for scissors or a bottle opener instead.
4. Avoid chewing on hard candy or ice cubes.
Crunching on ice or hard candy can lead to cracked or chipped teeth, which are painful and pricey to treat. Whether you’re enjoying a sweet or finishing the ice in your holiday cocktail, let it dissolve naturally in your mouth. Better yet, skip these items altogether. Ice can cause discomfort for sensitive teeth, and hard candies promote tooth decay.
5. Say “no” to nail-biting.
The holidays can be stressful, but biting your nails won’t bring relief. Anxious nibbling is bad for both fingernails and teeth. Experts have linked the habit to teeth grinding, clenching, jaw problems, facial pain, and sensitive teeth. If you get the urge to chew, distract yourself for a minute or two and see if the feeling goes away. If that doesn’t work, consider buying a bitter-tasting polish that’s designed to dissuade you from putting your nails anywhere near your mouth.
Be sure to check these tips twice to stay off your dentist’s naughty list this season!