With the holidays quickly approaching, it means it's time to bust out your favorite, festive dresses and a smile for the incoming string of holiday parties. But if your holiday gatherings tend to involve a lot of treats and cocktails, you may be in need of some tricks to keep your teeth white and healthy while you indulge. Now don't get me wrong. I am in no way suggesting that you curb your enthusiasm when it comes to wine and cookies. Rather, I'd like to offer some tips for how to get your fill of all your favorite, sugary treats without destroying your pearly whites. So to find out what some of the best work-arounds are, I emailed with an expert.
NYC-based cosmetic dentist, Dr. Gregg Lituchy, offered some pretty genius hacks for being able to have your hot cocoa and sip it too. After all, when your calendar is packed with events (even if it's just to binge the Gilmore Girls revival five or six times), there's not always enough time to simply whiten your teeth. So you can eat all of your favorite things without having to rely on a mandatory whitening session come January, here are eight tips to help preserve your smile all season-long:
1. Use A Straw
Whether you prefer coffee, tea, or wine, many holiday drinks have the power to leave surface stains. To combat this, Dr. Lituchy suggests sipping these types of drinks through a straw so as to prevent prolonged contact with your teeth.
2. Chew Gum
"Chewing sugarless gum daily is effective in mechanically removing food particles and surface plaque that attracts stains on teeth," says Dr. Lituchy. He adds that chewing gum also helps stimulate the flow of saliva to further wash away food particles and plaque. Try carrying a pack in your clutch so you can pop a piece after your holiday snacking.
3. Try Petroleum Jelly
If you'd rather not sip your wine through a straw, try this hack: Rub a thin layer of petroleum jelly over your teeth before you consume any teeth-staining food or drinks. According to Dr. Lituchy, the petroleum jelly "acts as a barrier to prevent staining and also helps to keep lipstick off of teeth." Talk about a win-win.
4. Switch Out Your Toothbrush
Try: Boka Classic Brush Two-Pack, $8, Boka
Did you know that hard toothbrushes can actually cause damage to your enamel, making your teeth appear more yellow? Dr. Lituchy recommends using a softer toothbrush (and even rinsing it with hot water before brushing to soften the bristles) to make sure your pearly whites stay that way.
5. Opt For Whitening Toothpaste
Try: Luster Now! Instant Whitening Toothpaste, $8, Luster Premium White
If you don't have time to whiten your teeth during the holidays, Dr. Lituchy suggests trying a whitening toothpaste like this one that will make your teeth appear instantly brighter.
6. Try Vodka Instead
If you're looking to avoid teeth-staining drinks altogether, Dr. Lituchy recommends vodka. Unlike red wine which stains and white wine which causes teeth erosion, vodka doesn't stain teeth and even kills odor-causing bacteria to keep your breath fresh.
7. Skip The Candy Cane
As yummy and festive as those white-and-red sugar-sticks are, they're also terrible for your teeth, says Dr. Lituchy. He explains that because candy canes take so long to dissolve, they remain in contact with your teeth longer than other sweets, giving bacteria that cause cavities more time to start decaying your teeth. Yikes. If you can't resist though, he recommends to just make sure to brush and floss immediately after you finish your treat.
8. Choose The Right Lipstick
Of course, if you just need to fake an extra shade of white, make sure to select the right lipstick. Whether you prefer a classic, holiday red or any other color for that matter, just make sure it has a cool or blue undertone. This, Dr. Lituchy explains, "contrasts the whiteness of the tooth and makes your smile appear instantly brighter." Yes, all that lipstick hoarding was definitely good for something.
Because the holidays are usually something to smile about, so why not keep yours healthy and bright?