Christmas is just weeks away, and the holiday season is in full swing, with everyone getting geared up for the festivities. We don’t want to get all bah humbug at such an exciting time but you should be thinking about what Christmas means for your teeth!
Champagne, mince pies, selection boxes and countless bags of sweets will undoubtedly sneak their way into our diets this festive season. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable time of year, but nonetheless you need to spare a thought for your teeth.
Drinking an excess of alcohol, snacking constantly and the overeating of sugary foods and drinks over Christmas can make the holiday period a miserable time for teeth. The indulgences and tempting treats that can present themselves over Christmas Day and Boxing Day in particular means that teeth can potentially be in harm’s way for over 48 hours over the festive period.
Conversely, some traditionally loved Christmas foods like Cranberries- the perfect accompaniment for your Turkey- are scientifically proven to be beneficial to overall health, and research has also shown that they could have the capability to help prevent both gum disease and tooth decay! However, as with everything this time of year, moderation is important- cranberries are acidic and it is a good idea not to have them too often.
All of this means it is important to be extra vigilant with your oral health over the Christmas period. Remember, teeth are affected by sugars for up to one hour after eating or drinking, and if you think about how much is consumed, and how often, particularly over Christmas and Boxing Day, your teeth don’t really get the chance to recover at all.
So please forgive us for being the Foundation Grinch, but to ensure your pearly whites don’t suffer the festive blues, here are five ways to look after them this Christmas and New Year:
1. Beware of the Christmas cake, pudding and mince pies
Mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding may be just what you’re craving after a traditional Christmas dinner, but one thing they do not satisfy is your teeth. They are all filled to the brim with dried fruit, which is high in sugar. These kinds of foods have the potential to stick to your teeth, consequently causing a large amount of damage, particularly if we’re gorging on them frequently throughout Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
2. Keep your routine
The worst thing you can do on Christmas Eve is forget about your oral hygiene routine for a few days. Teeth take a bit of a hammering, what with all of the chocolates, sugary foods and drinks and the alcohol consumed over the festive period. Christmas morning might be the most exciting time of the year for children- but if you’re a parent, make them wait a little longer – it’s only two minutes after all! If a post-Christmas snooze on the sofa is more your thing, then don’t forget to brush your teeth before you head to bed.
3. Say cheese!
Cheese is so beneficial for your teeth. It helps to return the mouth to its natural acid balance and helps to reduce the chances of developing tooth decay. That’s why the perfect thing for after the main meal is a cheeseboard. Even a little piece of cheese can have the same effect. The same can also be said for sugar-free chewing gum (although it might not be great table etiquette!).
4. Use the bottle opener
Let’s be honest- we’ve all attempted to open a bottle of beer with our teeth at some point in our lives. Although you can’t account for genuine accidents, please remember your teeth aren’t tools. If your party trick is to use your mouth as a bottle opener, or if you’re always using your teeth to rip open the crisp packet, you’re actually doing your teeth more harm than good.
If somehow the worst happens and you lose a tooth, the most important thing to keep in mind is not to panic. Get to the emergency dentist as soon as possible, as with the right care, the tooth can be successfully put back into the socket. Ideally, you should try and put it back in straight away, without handling the root.
The best chance of having your tooth successfully put back in is to keep the tooth in your cheek. If this isn’t possible, keep it in some milk until you receive the necessary emergency dental work. The sooner you can do this the better, as every minute counts.
Above all, moderation is definitely the most important thing to remember. In order to ensure you enjoy this time of year to its fullest extent without having to compromise on what you eat and drink, bear in mind that it’s not the amount of sugary food and drink you have, it is how often you have them that causes a dire situation for oral health. It’s ok to say no to that extra sweet as the tin comes round, or to have a glass of milk instead of one last glass of fizz!
From everyone at London Holistic Dental Centre- have a very Merry Christmas!