Taking care of your teeth during Christmas
We’re starting to think about decking the halls, choosing an outfit for the festive parties and what the newest supply shortage will do to curb our present shopping. It can only mean one thing - Christmas is ‘round the corner.
The holiday season is often one of excess in all forms. It can be all too easy to let standards slip - and that includes our oral health. But we’re here with some top tips so you can keep your mouth sparkling fresh throughout the Christmas season and to avoid a trip to the dentist come new year.
1. Sweets and sugar
Many of us indulge more in the sweet stuff over the holiday period, playing havoc with our usual oral health routine. Some pointers to consider are:
Christmas cake and pudding, and mince pies are laden with dried fruit - which is high in sugar and can stick to your teeth.
Caramels and toffees will stick to your gums and the small grooves of your teeth. It’s difficult even to get rid of these sweets with regular brushing and flossing. The sugar will feed the bacteria in your mouth and generate huge amounts of plaque that can lead to tooth decay. Just say no to those purple Quality Streets.
How much sugar we eat is less important than how long it sits on our teeth. Eating sugary foods or drinking sugary drinks is best done at mealtimes, when we produce more saliva that neutralises the acid that is produced by bacteria in the mouth. It will also help to rinse away food particles and sugary substances. Try to minimise the number of times you eat and drink sugary items, as snacking and drinking throughout the day creates the perfect climate for bacteria and plaque.
Eating hard and boiled sweets can often lead to chipped teeth - not something you want over Christmas. When you chip a tooth, it can allow plaque to reach the nerve endings of your teeth, causing discomfort and requiring treatment. When acid or sugar enters your mouth, it takes tooth enamel roughly half an hour to recuperate from it. If you suck on a boiled sweet then you do not give the enamel time to recover.
Sour sweets have become more popular in recent years and are bad news for teeth. The flavouring in sour sweets contains a high level of acid which is just as bad for your teeth as sugar and can lead to tooth decay.
Adults and children are more likely to indulge in sugary drinks during the festivities and our top tip is to use a straw - this limits the amount of sugar that comes in contact with the teeth.
Good oral hygiene routines and regular visits to the dentist will help you maintain healthy teeth and gums. The best time to brush your teeth is after meals and brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day will help lessen the damage done by all the sugar.
2. Limit your alcohol intake
Not only is too much alcohol bad for your health, it’s also bad for your teeth. We all enjoy a glass of something with our turkey, but did you know that white wine can be very acidic, contributing to enamel erosion; or that red wine can increase the risk of teeth staining?
We’d recommend just drinking red or white wine with your main evening meal. And don’t let the festivities distract you from brushing following your alcoholic drinks. To remove any stains, it’s important to leave a gap before you brush your teeth.
Alcohol is also increasingly associated with mouth cancer.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the perfect time to sup on a few glasses of mulled wine. But this festive favourite can take its toll on your teeth. Mulled wine and red wine are both bad news for teeth. Mulled wine is both acidic and sugary, which means that it can erode teeth enamel, lead to lower levels of calcium and ultimately, weaken your teeth. In addition to this, dark wines like this contains tannins, which make the tooth enamel more porous and more susceptible to staining.
3. Say cheese!
Cheese is great for teeth. It helps to return the mouth to its natural acid balance and reduce the chances of developing tooth decay. That’s why cheeseboards after the main meal are a great idea. Even a little piece of cheese can have the same effect. The same can be said for sugar-free chewing gum (although it may not be great table etiquette).
4. Use a fluoride toothpaste
As always, we recommend a fluoride toothpaste is used at least twice a day. Fluoride helps to harden your tooth enamel and reduces your risk of tooth decay. Remember to just spit after brushing - don’t rinse the fluoride off by using water. Don’t forget the floss, too, to remove all those pesky bits between the teeth. An electric toothbrush makes a great present too, for young and old. We particularly adore the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300. It gently removes up to 7 x more plaque than a manual toothbrush - ideal for managing the Christmas excess.
With most dentists closed over the holidays, you don’t want to crack a tooth and leave it exposed to more decay. Just say no to cracking nuts or opening bottles with your teeth. Use scissors to cut sticky tape rather than your teeth, and do not crunch down on ice cubes.
Stick to these tricks to keep your mouth happy over the festive season. Stay safe and keep your mouth fresh for those kisses under the mistletoe.
We want to wish all our lovely customers a very happy holidays and happy new year!