We know Santa Claus by many names. Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, and St. Nicholas are just a few. The real St. Nicholas was born in the third century on the southern coast of what is now Turkey.
When he grew up, St. Nicholas became the Bishop of Myra. He was known for his generosity, and according to one story, he was credited with tossing bags of gold into the window of a poor man. According to the legend, the bags landed in stockings or shoes that were drying by the fire.
Today, the tradition of stuffing stockings continues as part of our Christmas celebrations.
At Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta, we wondered what St. Nicholas might put in your family’s stockings today if he were a dentist.
We assume he would want to fight tooth decay and gum disease just like any other dentist, so here are few things he might approve. (Feel free to borrow them if you are looking for some last-minute gift ideas … or if you haven’t started shopping yet.)
- An electric toothbrush
Studies have found that electric toothbrushes can do a better job of removing bacteria and plaque than manual toothbrushes. One the great things about this gift is you can find electric toothbrushes in any price range.
You can find high-tech versions that spin and pulse, or you can get a low-tech version that vibrates. Either way, you can find something that will fit in a stocking for someone in your family.
For someone with arthritis, an electric toothbrush can provide an easier way to clean his or her teeth. For children, an electric toothbrush might just be more fun. You can find them in a wide array of colors and styles, including ones with your family’s favorite television and movie characters.
Anything that will encourage you and your family to brush your teeth (and fight tooth decay) is a good gift in our book.
- A two-minute timer
This could be something as simple as an egg timer or a miniature hourglass that you can keep in your bathroom or your kids’ bathroom. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time.
Brushing your teeth for the right amount of time means you have a better chance of fighting cavities and of preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
Plus, when you aren’t brushing your teeth, a timer has a lot of other uses, too.
- Water flosser
This is a great gift to go along with the electric toothbrush. For people who don’t like flossing or refuse to floss at all, this is a great tool to help them clean between their teeth and between their teeth and gums.
Like electric toothbrushes, you can find high- and low-priced versions of water flossers. Studies have demonstrated that water flosser are as effective as (and maybe better than) dental floss at removing plaque. This is important to preventing gum disease.
- Sugar-free gum
We are not going to tell you that sugar-free gum is a substitute for brushing and flossing. It’s not. However, it is much better for your teeth than sugary gum, and sugar-free gum can reduce your risk of getting cavities.
Look for a gum with the ADA Accepted Seal. According to ADA guidelines, sugar-free gum with the ADA seal can reduce your risk of cavities if you chew it for 20 minutes after eating and drinking. Chewing this gum stimulates saliva production, which helps to remove plaque acids from your teeth.
Again, you still have to brush and floss, but sugar-free gum is a better option than candy.
- Mini toothbrushes
Like sugar-free gum, you should not see miniature toothbrushes as a substitute for brushing and flossing. These are something that you or your family can keep in a purse, a desk drawer, or a glove compartment
You shouldn’t use these every day, nor should you expect these to clean your teeth as well as a full-sized toothbrush.
But for those situations when you have no other way to freshen up, these will come in handy.
Enjoy the holidays
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all our patients and their families. Our family at Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta wishes you all a safe and happy holiday season.
Enjoy your time with your family and friends, and we’ll even give you permission to nibble on Christmas cookies and candy. (Just remember to brush and floss to fight tooth decay and gum disease.)