Christmas is fast approaching and many of us are taking the holidays to spend some much needed quality time with our families and loved ones. It is a time when we treat ourselves to scrumptious meals, delicious snacks and indulge in a fizzy glass or three. Stacks of chips and sweets are often left out in bowls on tables for a quick and easy snack to grab.
The last thing we want to think about is having a tooth ache or sore gums during the holiday season. Unfortunately, the tasty Christmas puddings, fruity mince pies, sweet cookies and lollies contain high levels of sugar that can damage our teeth.
Snacking frequently throughout the day exposes the teeth to more acid attacks as the bacteria in our mouths try to constantly break down the food we eat. On top of that, consuming soft drinks, juices and wines which are highly acidic can leave the enamel demineralised and more prone to decay and erosion.
To ensure that all of these tempting treats are not detrimental to our oral health, here are 5 tips to follow this Christmas:
1.Limit sugary and acidic foods as well as snacking between meals
Eat fresh, healthy meals that are well balanced and contain slow releasing energy rather than foods that give a hit of energy and leave you feeling hungry and lethargic later.
2. Avoid putting stress on your teeth
This is not as hard as you think! Stay away from opening beer bottles with your teeth. Avoid chewing on chicken bones and ice cubes (even though the ice might give you temporary relief from the scorching hot weather). No matter how tasty that pork crackling is, don’t bite on it if you have big fillings in your back teeth.
3. Brush and floss
Brush with a soft bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush with the correct toothbrushing technique – angle the bristles of the brush about 45 degrees towards the gums and make small gentle circular motions along the gumline. Spend a total of 2 minutes brushing each time. Do this twice a day, and floss at least once daily in between your teeth.
4. Drink lots of water
Water keeps us hydrated and makes sure we have plenty of saliva to neutralise the acids in our mouths. Substitute the fizzy drinks for water. Rinse with plenty of water after eating or drinking acidic or sugary foods.
5. Chew sugar free gum in between meals instead of snacking
The chewing action we make with our jaws when chewing sugar free gum stimulates our saliva flow. Saliva is important for protecting our teeth and provides a reservoir for the minerals that are lost when we are constantly eating and drinking.
For more information on caring for your teeth, visit these fact sheets:
- Dental decay causes and prevention
- Tooth wear contains the acid levels of different foods and drinks
- How to brush and floss with handy diagrams
The team at Paul Trembath Dental wishes you and your families and safe and merry Christmas.