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Healthy teeth during the holidays isn’t an impossible task, and even though you may socialize with your dentist from time to time the last thing that you want to do is pay a visit to his or her office.

According to Rodeo Dental, there are a few things you can to avoid a dental emergency or a trip to the ER.

Use a Nutcracker-The flesh of a nut will help keep your bones and muscles strong, but don’t use your teeth to crack open those pecans that your boss gave you. The hard shells can cause some serious tooth damage and can even hurt your gums.

Chewy Treats-When it comes to holiday teeth skip the caramels and taffy, dried fruit and peanut brittle. Your favorite salt-water taffy and caramels can actually pull a filling out. Peanut brittle can crack a tooth and get stuck in-between your teeth as well. Eat sparingly or enjoy with other foods.

Say No to Ice Cubes and Butterscotch-You may love those delicious hard sourballs and candy canes that you keep on hand every Christmas, but bite down and you can crack a tooth, a filling or chip a tooth. Let hard sweets melt in your mouth, or better still, skip them all together.

Use the Proper Tools-Never open packages or bottles with your teeth, even if you have been waiting weeks for your new Smartphone. Gripping a bottle or package with your teeth can crack or even break one. Use a pair of scissors for that package and a bottle opener for that beer.

No Nail Biting-The holidays can add stress making you want to pick up that old habit. Keep your nails out of your mouth, as nibbling is bad for teeth and fingernails. The habit is linked to tooth clenching, grinding and jaw problems. If you get the urge distract yourself or try one of those bad tasting fingernail polishes if you want to keep your beautiful holiday teeth.

Happy Holidays from Rodeo Dental and don’t forget to schedule your annual dental checkup for the New Year today.