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The festivities are fast approaching, and we all love getting into the festive spirit and indulging in those Christmas treats over the holidays. However, does indulgence make an impact on our oral health? It’s important to keep your oral hygiene routine and be particularly careful to not let holidays have an impact on your teeth.
Read our guide with our top tips for keeping your teeth healthy at Christmas below!
The NHS states that “The government recommends that free sugars – sugars added to food or drinks, and sugars found naturally in honey, syrups, and unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies and purées – should not make up more than 5% of the energy (calories) you get from food and drink each day.”
It’s no secret that having more than the recommended amount of sugar in your diet is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. Christmas treats, soft drinks and alcohol can contain sugars that are harmful to your teeth and overindulgence can break down the enamel to cause decay. While mince pies, mulled wine, Christmas cake and chocolate all taste amazing, they’re also full of sugar. You don’t have to completely compromise on what you eat and drink but moderation is certainly key.
It’s not about how much sugar you consume but how often. Regularly exposing your teeth to harmful sugar increases your risk of plaque. Try limiting your sugar intake to meal times, as you will naturally produce more saliva and this will help rinse away food particles and sugary substances.
You can also help reduce how much contact sugar has with your teeth by drinking plenty of water and using a straw for sugary and acidic drinks.
Make swaps from high-sugar snacks to low or no-sugar alternatives. Look at the packaging to see if there is a high sugar intake from the treats. This can help you make a decision to try and reduce the quantity of consumption or make a swap if needed!
Cheese is surprisingly better for your teeth, so no need to decline the cheeseboard this year! The phosphate in cheese alongside the calcium aid to keep your bones and teeth strong. It also helps maintain a healthy oral PH balance, so it won’t be an acidic environment to cause any tooth decay.
It’s important at any point of the year to keep up a good dental routine but particularly if there’s an element of food indulgence as mentioned above. Christmas is also a busy time of year for your social calendar, and all those parties and late nights can lead to you becoming relaxed when it comes to brushing your teeth.
Although it can be tempting to ditch your oral health routine on an occasional evening, doing so even once or twice can have an adverse effect on your teeth, especially if you have consumed a significant amount of sugar or alcohol. So be sure to brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day (yes, even on Christmas), or you could end up on the naughty list.
Not only is it important for you to brush your teeth regularly but all the extra food and alcohol you’re consuming at Christmas means it’s even more important for you to floss in between your teeth, as your toothbrush can’t reach between your teeth.
The longer you leave these areas of your teeth unclean, the harder the plaque will be to remove and can lead to oral health problems further down the line.
Regular flossing can also help reduce bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line, which is great news if you’re planning on hanging around the mistletoe.
By this, we mean that your teeth are not tools. Don’t use your teeth for things they aren’t designed for, such as biting sellotape when wrapping gifts or using your teeth to open tough packaging.
The last thing you want over your festive break is a dental emergency, and using your teeth in this way is an accident waiting to happen.
If you’re struggling for ideas on your Christmas wish list then why not ask Santa for a new electric toothbrush. The ADA recommends that you replace your toothbrush every 3 – 4 months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. Hey, you never know, the lucky ones might get a new toothbrush for Christmas from good ol’ Santa Claus.
With an electric toothbrush, you can simply change the brush head, guaranteeing a fresh and healthy smile every time.
While regular toothbrushes can be just as effective at removing plaque, an electric toothbrush often has more variety in movements and direction. They’re also great for those with dexterity problems, such as the elderly or people with disabilities.
While we hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, we don’t want you to forget about your oral health. So if you’re overdue a check-up, give us a call on 01709 917 666.