The stretch between Halloween and Christmas should be a joyous time for kids and their families, but it can be a scary stretch for your oral health.
Amid the baked goods and candies alone, the end-of-year holidays are a veritable obstacle course of dental dangers. Which is not to say that you can’t indulge a little; we’ll discuss how to help protect your teeth below. In fact, if you live in the Austin area, it’s a particularly great time of year to visit an iconic, local candy shop.
Austin’s Sweet Tooth
If you’ve been down South Congress in the Travis Heights area, you’ve probably seen the distinctive, elephant-capped sign for Big Top Candy Shop and Soda Fountain. Eater Austin recently featured the store, which is renowned in part for stocking hard-to-find, imported and classic candies.
Big Top has something for everyone’s sweet tooth, all in a unique space that includes an ice-cream counter with an antique soda fountain and is decorated with circus memorabilia. Offerings include a smorgasbord of bulk candies; gold standards like Toblerone bars; and imports from the United Kingdom, Japan and elsewhere.
The store’s reputation isn’t limited to Austin. Last year, Time magazine named Big Top one of America’s Best Candy Shops. And candy lovers have cause to rejoice: According to the Eater Austin article, Big Top plans to expand next year and carry new products including classic-style bottled sodas.
Be Sweet to Your Teeth
The holiday season is often filled with hustle and bustle, and even a little stress. It can be an easy time to overindulge and neglect otherwise routine habits, like maintaining your dental health.
In addition to sweets, many foods and drinks we enjoy over the holidays are high in starches, sugars and acids, three components that fuel enamel erosion and accelerate plaque accumulation. Here are some simple steps you can take to help protect your teeth:
- Moderation is key: Sometimes cliché’s are true; go ahead and enjoy a cookie, or slice of pie, or some European chocolate from Austin’s Big Top, but have a plan to limit yourself and turn to healthier fare if you feel like an additional snack (the holidays are a great time for vegetable and fruit plates)
- Water is your friend: As you eat and drink throughout the day and into the evening, sip on water, even occasionally swish and rinse your mouth if you can; drinking and rinsing with water helps flush harmful residue and acids that cling to your teeth between brushing, and it helps hydrate your mouth
- Something to chew on: Chewing some sugar-free gum between snacks or meals also helps remove food particles, hydrate the mouth and maintain fresh breath
- Don’t neglect your toothbrush: With many people traveling and visiting family over the holidays, it can be easy, especially for kids, to forget to brush; stick to brushing at least twice a day, preferably after meals and especially before going to bed
Between or following the holidays is a great time to visit your dentist. Checkups and teeth cleanings help maintain your oral health, and cosmetic dentistry treatments like teeth whitening can restore bright smiles dulled by the excesses of the holidays.
Austin cosmetic dentist Dr. Dan Matthews wishes you and your family a happy holiday season. If you’re considering treatment to rejuvenate your smile, please call the Bee Cave Road office of Dan Matthews, DDS, at 512-452-2273 to schedule your complimentary consultation.