Your wellness is always important, and holiday hustle and bustle can especially affect it. Here are three tips to help you maximize your mind and body health (including your oral health!) during this busy time of year.
Sleep yields wellness
You’ll need plenty of energy for your holiday preparations, so be sure to get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults should get between seven and nine hours’ worth of sleep per night. A chronic lack of sleep can contribute to many health issues, including stress, irritability, and weight gain; and deficiencies in alertness, decision making, memory, muscle repair, and more.
Insufficient sleep can also harm your oral health. In 2013, nearly 30,000 adults took part in a study of sleep disorders and oral health. The study found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night ran a higher risk of gum inflammation. Left untreated, inflamed gums can become infected and develop gum disease, a gateway to serious conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Floss daily for overall wellness
Be sure your smile is ready for holiday gatherings with family and friends! In addition to getting enough sleep to help maintain the wellness of your gums, be sure to floss daily to reduce the chance of their bleeding.
Bleeding gums are one of the first signs of gingivitis (early-stage gum disease), which can progress to periodontitis (advanced gum disease) if left untreated. Daily flossing is the only method by which you can clean thoroughly between your teeth (and thus keep excessive bacteria from infecting your gums). Twice-daily brushing is a must, but no matter how thoroughly you do so, it won’t clean between your teeth.
Want to add some seasonal flavor to your flossing routine? Check the pharmacy for mint or cinnamon-flavored floss (yes, they’re real!).
Limit your sugar intake
With so many holiday festivities underway, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy sugar-laden foods and drinks, but moderation is crucial. That’s because a sugar rush can start a roller coaster ride of ups and downs as your body works overtime to stabilize your sugar levels. This can leave you feeling anxious, confused, cranky, and tired, and these feelings can intensify if you have anxiety or depression.
In addition, processed sugar and harmful bacteria combining in your mouth can lead to tooth decay. Even if you brush and floss regularly, acids may form quickly and begin eroding your tooth enamel. Erosion is a path to cracked teeth, tooth sensitivity, and other dental issues that can affect your wellness.
The good news? After enjoying holiday sweet treats, you can protect your mouth by rinsing with water and waiting at least 20-30 minutes before brushing. This will reduce the acid level in your mouth and allow your teeth to remineralize, at which point you can safely brush them.