What do you get when you combine increased exposure to alcohol, sweet foods, and cultural stress?
An insult to your efforts to navigate to optimal oral health.
Between holiday work parties, family gatherings, and the ever-present pressure of holiday shopping, we’ve found this ‘holiday haze’ time of year to be notoriously challenging for the mouth (not to mention the body).
In this article, we’ll cover some strategies that can help us maintain optimal oral health throughout the holiday season.
How to mitigate the increase in sweet food consumption
There are several things we can do ahead of time when we know that we’re going to be exposed to all sorts of sweet indulgences.
Here are some of our favorites…
1. Eat lots of healthy fats before going to any festivities.
You may already know that eating healthy fats is one of our top strategies for supporting our oral health.
How can this strategy help us prepare for a holiday gathering?
Having plenty of healthy fats in your system will suppress your desire for sweet foods when you’re presented with the buffet of tempting options.
2. Support your internal cavity-resistance system.
We know we’re going to be exposed to more sugar during the holidays (which can negatively impact one of our natural remineralization systems).
So, make sure you have enough vitamin D and plenty of vitamin K2 circulating in your system.
Among many other health-giving mechanisms, vitamin D helps our bodies to uptake calcium from the foods that we eat. Once the calcium is in our bloodstream, we need vitamin K2 to guide the calcium to where it’s needed so that it can support bone tissue, including our teeth.
(To learn more about vitamin K2, check out our expert interview on this critical subject.)
3. Choose your sweets intentionally.
Allow yourself some indulgence. Enjoy the sweet foods you choose to eat with full awareness and zero guilt.
You are choosing to consume these. Being rigid with our eating habits isn’t balanced or healthy. As we’ve all heard from so many wise people across all cultures and religions, ‘Everything in moderation’.
Yes, there may be some foods that we choose to absolutely never eat. Be clear on those that you choose to never eat, but allow yourself some wiggle room with the foods that you choose to limit or even almost always avoid.
Be gentle with yourself. And please, don’t be mean to yourself or feel guilty if you choose to eat some holiday fudge. Pay attention when eating it and you may just find that you really don’t want to eat that much of it after all.
4. Make your own dishes to bring to the gathering.
Help share healthier options with others in your network.
The world needs more of us to ‘live out loud’ and share our choices with others.
Will you get teased? Maybe, but maybe not. Over the years, we’ve found that most people appreciate it when you share your research with them (as long as it’s without being pushy or judging them).
If you want a deeper dive into strategies for how to live a cavity-free life, we invite you to download our FREE resource guidebook, “How to stop tooth decay and remineralize your teeth”. .
It’s loaded with helpful tips and techniques for reducing the risk of tooth decay.
How to deal with the ‘Holiday Cheer’
For full transparency, we aren’t big alcohol drinkers in our home.
It’s just never been our ‘cup of tea’. I used to enjoy an occasional beer, but since I’ve chosen to live gluten-free, beer has fallen into the past (yeah, I’ve tried gluten-free beers, but they weren’t thrilling for me :).
On rare occasions, Susan or I may enjoy a glass of red wine. But overall we tend to avoid wine (especially because it’s almost impossible to find the quality we would prefer at a party).
It’s not that we’re wine snobs. It’s just that we know that non-organic wine crops are treated with pesticides that are fluorinated compounds, and we do our best to avoid consuming fluoride in all forms.
So, how does one navigate the holiday parties with all of their ‘festivities’?
Here are a couple of strategies that we’ve found helpful.
1. Always have water with you.
This ensures that you’ll have a beverage on hand. And if you choose to have some alcohol, you can follow it with water to help reduce the acidity on your teeth and the tooth stains that are so common from drinks like red wine.
And if you really want to blend in…
2. Honor your preferences at parties and blend right in.
Hands down, this is our favorite strategy, perhaps because I (Will here) spent WAY too much time learning about ninja strategies as a teen.
With this technique, you can blend in at any holiday work party.
Plan ahead and bring some pure cranberry juice and coconut water to the gathering. This way, regardless of the type of glass or cup that’s being used at the party, you can navigate your awkward social situations with ease.
More cranberry than coconut water looks great in a wine glass, and with a little more coconut water, it can even pass as a cosmopolitan for those ‘cocktail parties’. 🙂
Burning hard into winter
This one has truly never made any sense to us.
The fact is, here in the northern hemisphere, we’re heading into winter.
Winter is a time for contemplation and turning in. It’s a time when we should be getting more sleep and rest to rekindle our ‘inner fire’.
If we don’t nurture our healing energy during winter, we’re paving the way for poor health in the new year.
So, it has never made sense to us that our culture chooses to party hard heading into winter. We’ve just resigned ourselves to the idea that we’re not supposed to understand this cultural habit.
Celebrate with friends? Yes, absolutely. This is one of the best ways to “fill your cup.”
Share quality, fun time with family? Definitely, it’s a blessing.
Just keep in mind that our mid-winter actions set us up for the following year. So, be sure to honor your need for quiet time, too.
In fact, for many years, it’s been a tradition in our family to ‘turn in’ during the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
Now this tradition also includes our awesome WOW team (WOW stands for We’re OraWellness :). So, while we’re here, just a quick heads-up that we’ll be closed for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
We hope these strategies help you keep your ‘pearly whites’ healthy while you shine your precious smile into the world this holiday season.
What strategies do you use to navigate the holidays more healthfully? Please share in the comments so we can all continue to learn from one another.
We wish you a happy holiday season filled with lots and lots of smiles and laughter!
Helpful, Related Resources:
Why eating healthy fats is our #1 diet hack to heal cavities [article]
Why do teeth decay? [article]
An easy step toward stopping tooth decay [article]
What’s the best vitamin K2 supplement on the market and why [article]
How to reverse cavities and restore brain & heart health [[expert interview video]]
How to stop tooth decay and remineralize your teeth [Free resource guidebook]