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Three Ways to Keep Your Smile Healthy During the Hectic Holiday Season

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Dec. 4, 2018) – The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, but last-minute shopping, overspending, overscheduling and extended family visits can make it a nail-biting season, too. Although you should take care of your oral health throughout the year, it’s important to realize that holiday angst can affect the health of your smile.

“Stress can do a number on your mind, body and mouth,” says Dr. Sheila Strock, vice president, dental services and science officer, Delta Dental of Illinois. “Research shows that anxiety makes it more difficult to fight infection, including gingivitis and gum disease.”

If the holidays are adding extra pressures to your life, the stress can make you more susceptible to canker sores, dry mouth, teeth grinding or clenching, dental abscesses and gum inflammation. Too much stress can also lead to bad oral health habits like neglecting to brush twice a day and to floss daily.

Finding ways to stay calm will help your smile stay healthy and bright this season and help you keep your sanity. Here are some tips to keep stress from sinking its teeth into the holidays – and your mouth.

Relax. Set aside time each day to relax, whether it’s five minutes of meditation or a soak in the bathtub. Also try doing gentle neck stretches while brushing your teeth.

Refuel. With parties and special dinners crowding the holidays, there’s plenty of food, drinks and treats to help make you merry. It’s important to balance joyous events with healthy choices. Fill up on fiber-rich foods and satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit or dark chocolate. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water.

Recharge. Get a good night’s sleep and allow your body time to rest and repair from shopping, party-hopping and the time you spend making the season special. Habits like brushing before bed help your body wind down for the day.

The simplest things you can do to maintain your oral health is to brush twice a day, floss daily and visit your dentist regularly. If you notice extra anxiety during the holiday season, try to keep up with your oral health routine. It will serve you well when holiday festivities end.

These reminders aim to help keep your anxiety level low and maintain your oral health – but if stress is bogging you down, take time to talk with your physician.

For more oral health tips, visit the Your Health section of this website.

About Delta Dental of Illinois
Delta Dental is the national dental benefits leader covering 1 in 3 Americans who have dental insurance. Delta Dental of Illinois is one of 39 member companies that make up the national Delta Dental system. Based in Naperville, Illinois, Delta Dental of Illinois provides dental benefit programs to more than 6,000 Illinois companies and covers 2 million individuals, employees and family members nationwide. Delta Dental of Illinois is committed to improving oral health in our community and furthers this commitment through the work of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation.