How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy During the Festive Season

With December in full swing, we’ll all soon be soaking up the joys of Christmas, which hopefully will be very different to last year! We hope all our patients are staying safe and in good health this special time of year.

We all tend to let ourselves go during this time and it can be easy to get a bit lax with brushing and flossing habits, and to let a healthy diet slip by the wayside. However, there are a few simple ways you can maintain a healthy mouth this Christmas time, so that you can go into January feeling guilt free!

Wash that sugar away

Of course, watching how much sugar we eat (whether it be at Christmas or indeed during the rest of the year) is paramount when it comes to maintaining good teeth. However, another factor to consider is how much time the sugar is allowed to sit in your mouth. Right after consuming sugar, bacteria start to feed off the acids in the mouth, building up plaque over time. So, making sure you’re not continuously snacking on sugary foods at regular intervals will only be a good thing for your dental health.

We recommend eating sugary foods and sweets at mealtimes, as this is when we produce the most saliva, which will aid with neutralising the acid produced by the bacteria in the mouth.

Watch your alcohol consumption

We all know alcohol consumption increases the risk of oral cancer, and at Christmas time, it’s customary to drink a little more than usual! If you’re having a tipple this Christmas time, try to stick to drinks that are least likely to be a rough ride for your teeth. These include beer and spirits like vodka and gin, which are low acidity compared with drinks such as white wine and prosecco.

Refrain from smoking

Christmas can a time when non-smokers cave and have a few cigarettes, or even a cigar. Even just a couple of weeks of smoking can cause damage, so if you can refrain from smoking, do. What’s more, mixing cigarettes with alcohol can increase the risk or oral cancer, as it’s believed that alcohol dehydrates the cell walls in the mouth, allowing carcinogens (an agent with the capacity to cause cancer) permeate the tissues more easily.

Make sensible food choices

Just because it’s Christmas time, doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthy (but tasty) foods. There are a number of foods commonly eaten during the month of December that form part of a healthy diet. Some of these include:

Cheese: as one of the nation’s favourite foods and a festive favourite, the good news is that cheese is actually great for your oral health. Cheese neutralises the acidity in the mouth, helping to reduce cavities, and fortifying your teeth.

Sprouts: Brussel sprouts get such a bad name, but in actual fact they’re great for your teeth, containing tooth-loving phosphorous and several vitamins. If you’re someone who really struggles to eat your sprouts, why not mix in a bit of bacon or shallot, to enhance the taste.

Almonds: as well as stimulating saliva production, almonds contain protein and calcium, which will help fortify your teeth and gums. They’re also very low in sugar, so long as you stick to the plain type!

Turkey: it’s a shame turkey isn’t eaten all year round, as it’s one of the best meats you can have for your dental and general health. Turkey contains phosphorous, which when married together with vitamin D and calcium forms a great melange that helped to build strong bones and teeth. Phosphorous is a great building block for the enamel coating that protects your teeth, reducing the negative effects of acids in the mouth.

Get a hygienist appointment booked in for New Year

If you’ve been to the dentist within the last 12 months, it’s likely that you can wait until your next routine appointment before visiting again. However, if you notice any unpleasant symptoms before this, you should visit right away.

What we do recommend doing, is to book in a hygienist appointment after Christmas time, as we all eat a little more sugar than is good for us throughout the whole of December. Sugar is what causes plaque, which in turn causes gum disease.

During a hygienist appointment, plaque is removed from the gum line using special instruments, which helps to significantly lower your chance of suffering from gum disease. Having a hygienist appointment right after Christmas will ensure any plaque that has accumulated over this period of removed, giving you a healthier mouth and fresher breath for the year ahead.

Use a bottle opener!

When we’ve had a bit of a drink, it can be easy to do the odd silly thing such as… opening a bottle using teeth!

Here at Cliftonville Dental, we see many patients who have cracked, chipped or broken their teeth as a result of biting on foreign object that shouldn’t be anywhere near the mouth!

Minimise your chance of requiring emergency dental care this Christmas, by avoiding opening those bottles of beer with your teeth!

Don’t neglect your brushing and flossing

Even on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, you shouldn’t neglect to brush and floss your teeth. Even a few nights of failing to brush and floss can set you back with your oral hygiene, and no-one wants teeth that feel horrible and furry because they haven’t removed the bacteria build up. Plus, brushing and flossing makes it more likely that you’ll find yourself under the mistletoe, as it helps keep your breath fresh!

If you would like to book yourself in for a consultation appointment at Cliftonville Dental in Northampton, contact us today to arrange this with our friendly team.

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