Ryan M. Buckwalter, DDS, FICOI, FAGD

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


The Holidays Are Coming: 4 Dental Hygiene Tips

The season of endless sweets and treats is upon us, during which many people neglect to care for their teeth. Yet everyone’s teeth are at risk of cavities and weak enamel due to the number of sugary foods and drinks available. Still, preventative measures can be put in place to promote oral health: a vigorous oral health routine, avoidance of hard or sticky candies, and more. Additionally, seek professional general dentistry services from a qualified provider. 

Hillcrest Dental has kept the smiles of Monticello, VA, residents healthy and happy for years. Our team of professionals provides thorough examinations, general dental care, cosmetic dentistry, and oral surgery services. We want to keep all patients well-equipped with the necessary tools to maintain their oral health, especially during this time of year. If you are interested in an ideal dental care routine, contact our professionals or call us at (434) 973-2224.

Here, we offer 4 dental hygiene tips that will protect your oral health this holiday season: 

Keep Up with Your Oral Health Routine

Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash are daily procedures for many people, but they may be overlooked during the holidays. Given the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year, it can be easy to forget parts of your routine. 

A new toothbrush, dental floss, and effective whitening toothpaste are crucial components for your oral hygiene kit, and having high-quality products will encourage a healthy routine. A soft-bristled toothbrush can prevent damage to your teeth and gums, whereas hard bristles can wear away tooth enamel. Moreover, soft bristles can reach into corners and gaps. 

Drink a Lot of Water

Hydrating is a good habit, and its benefits include supporting oral health. Water restores the pH level in your mouth and washes away the harmful bacteria that can erode your teeth and cause cavities. Drinking water also thins the natural acids your mouth produces and filters out the unwanted sugars left behind by other drinks and food, promoting fresh and clean breath. 

In addition to rinsing the mouth, water also strengthens teeth. When paired with fluoride—found in most tap water—water is a powerful cavity fighter. Indeed, fluoride prevents cavities and tooth fillings, toothaches and discomfort, and tooth decay.

Whether you eat one sweet or a dozen this season, chasing down sugary snacks with a glass of water could save you an unwanted trip to the dentist. 

Avoid Hard or Sticky Candies

Everyone loves to treat themselves to sweet treats during the holiday season, but what happens to your teeth while you’re snacking? While a bite of caramel chocolate or the occasional candy cane might seem harmless, these sugary snacks can speed up tooth decay and create painful cavities. Caramel and taffy can stick to your teeth, facilitate plaque build-up, and even pull out new tooth fillings.

Practicing caution around hard foods and candies is also a smart practice for Christmas this year. Biting down on a candy cane or a mint can create small cracks in teeth, where bacteria may enter. Though it’s not a problem to treat yourself to a few candies here and there, opting for healthier snacking alternatives, like cheese and fresh fruits, helps to protect your teeth.

Don’t Use Your Teeth to Open Presents

Teeth are adapted to chewing and talking, but using them to rip away at a pesky box or bottle cap can lead to severe damage. Chipping, cracking, and even breaking your teeth are possible consequences of using them as tools, which can lead to some pretty expensive dentist visits.

If you chip or break one of your teeth, consider speaking to an oral surgeon about preventing further damage to your smile.

Monticello, VA, Residents Can Book Post-Holiday General Dentistry Services with Hillcrest Dental Today

It’s easy to forget to keep up with your teeth during the festivities at this time of year, and even the most diligent person can overlook flossing here and there. Scheduling an appointment with us for professional general dentistry services will ensure your smile stays healthy and cavity-free. Request your free smile consultation on our website or call us at (434) 973-2224 today.

  • "I am very pleased with how my appointment went yesterday. Everyone was really friendly. They explained everything to me about the procedure and stayed late to assure I was comfortable with the work I had done. Dr Ryan Buckwalter and his assistants were awesome. I highly recommend them for any dental work. Thank you."

    Donnette M.

  • "I was having toothache pain in my lower jaw. I called the next day to make an appointment and was given an appointment time for the very next day. I saw Dr. Ryan, who is knowledgeable, caring and has great people skills with his patients. I made another appointment to come back and have the work done."

    Denise K.

  • “Dr. Buckwalter and his assistant did a wonderful job with our 8 year old today. While they were busy talking teeth, my 3 year old was enjoying his new lip balm and balloon! Finished up with a treat from Starbucks with our gift card. So glad our kiddos don’t fear the dentist. More like they want to keep stopping in."

    Logan D.

  • “Unbelievable experience with Dr. Ryan Buckwalter. Night and Day difference from my last dental experience with another dentist. I no longer fear the dentist!”

    David S.