‘Tis the season for holiday feasts, but making smart food choices and stepping up your oral hygiene routine can help you have a healthy, holiday season and a fresh, bright smile.
Oral health is a growing concern for American adults. For adults over 30, over 47% have serious gum problems, with almost 1 in 10 (8.5%) living with the most severe form of gum disease . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop serious gum problems. In fact, 1 in 3 adults living with diabetes also suffers from the most severe form of gum disease .
“People living with diabetes already know that small steps – like avoiding fried foods and increasing exercise – can make a big difference in personal health over time, and prioritizing your oral health is one of those steps,” said Dr. Natalie Strand of Freedom Pain Hospital, Colgate spokesperson and co-author of the new book A Woman’s Guide to Diabetes: A Path to Wellness, which is being published by the American Diabetes Association.
Whether you’re a diabetes patient, pre-diabetic or simply committed to protecting your overall health, following some smart tips during the holidays can help keep you, and your smile, healthy so you can enjoy all the season has to offer.
Lighten Up… Your Food: Avoid those culinary temptations around the holiday table by bringing your own lighter options or ask the host in advance to consider your dietary needs/constraints. Limit fried and sugary desserts and instead load up on fiber-rich choices like whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits with the skin on.
Prioritize Oral Health: This season of rich eats and sugary drinks can be hard on your teeth and gums, so brushing and flossing regularly are as important as ever. Brushing twice daily with Colgate Total toothpaste is a simple step you can take to help improve gum health in as little as 4 weeks . It is the only FDA-approved toothpaste to help prevent gingivitis, the most common form of gum disease.
Manage stress: It’s common to turn to food for comfort when tension and anxiety levels rise, as they often do during the holidays. Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly and practice relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation to help keep stress at bay.
Visit the Dentist: Make your dental appointment before the holidays really begin in full force. A regular check-up every six months is the best way to keep tabs on your oral health and help prevent common oral problems before they progress.
Get Creative with Exercise: Combine exercise with social activities such as walking around the neighborhood with your family and discovering new places or ice skating with your family. There are other ways to sneak in activity too, such as an extra spin around the dance floor at your company holiday party. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week.
More information on the connection between oral health and diabetes is available at www.OralHealthAndDiabetes.com.
Eke et al. Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the US:2009 and 2010. J Dent Res 91:914-920, 2012.
CDC, National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2011.pdf