Mind and Body

5 Ways to Have a 'Pearly' White Christmas

With holiday parties and lot’s of good cheer going around at this time of year, it’s also a good time to take a good look at that smile you or your loved one is flashing, or maybe a little embarrassed to do so at the office party this year. So here are 5 golden ways to give your smile a lift this holiday without crashing your wallet.

1. Get that end-of-the-year cleaning. A professional prophylaxis by a dental hygienist removes calculus or tartar (those ‘barnacle-like’ formations on teeth) that stains teeth and causes gums to become unhealthy and swollen. The prophylaxis or polishing can get your teeth up to a spiffy shine too. Remember, many insurance plans pay 100 percent for two cleanings a year and chances are you may have used just one in this calendar year.

2. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist if they offer a special discount on teeth whitening. Many offices do at this time of year, especially when done after a dental cleaning. If not, go online. There are many ‘dental spas’ that offer a safe, quick and easy whitening that will turn up the wattage on your smile!

3. Chill out on the holiday sweets. Sugar is the great “smile buster” and not just because it promotes cavities. Sugar causes an imbalance in the natural protective bacteria in the mouth called the oral biofilm. When balanced, or in homeostasis, your teeth stay white and are more resistant to stain. When unbalanced from the acidic ph-effects of sugar, unhealthy and smelly, staining plaque forms. If you do have some holiday sweets, make sure you also go for the alkaline forming greens and fiber-rich whole grains too.

4. Watch the booze and drink water. Alcohol dehydrates your mouth (and body) promoting unsightly decay and gum disease. Rule of thumb is to drink at least a glass of water in between every alcoholic beverage to stay hydrated, and for goodness' sake - don’t drive.

5. Don’t forget to stock up on some important smile-friendly nutritional supplements. Vitamin C, vitamin E, Coenzyme Q-10, folic Acid, MSM, vitamin A and B-Complex, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D are all nutritional cornerstones for healthy teeth and gums. Holiday season can be exhausting and get you run down. You body burns lots of antioxidants, and supplements are a key way to keep your body and smile healthy.

Here’s wishing you a holiday that’s full of warm smiles, peace and happiness into the New Year!

Dr. Gerry Curatola is a renowned aesthetic dentist and pioneer in the emerging field of rejuvenation dentistry, which improves patients’ overall health and appearance by integrating total wellness with cutting edge oral care and restorative procedures. In addition to his private practice, research, and work as a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU College of Dentistry, he is an internationally sought after speaker, author and expert who has been featured widely in print and broadcast media. For more information, go to rejuvenationdentistry.com.