Caring for your teeth over Christmas
It’s Christmas – the season to be jolly, to catch up with family and friends and to overindulge! Unfortunately for us all, it’s not just our waist that gets hit at Christmas. Many of us throughout the Christmas season will be increasing our intake of sugar from cakes, sweets, chocolates and desserts, so we need to take extra special care of our teeth and gums.
It’s not necessarily the amount of sugar we eat and drink over Christmas, it’s more about how long that sugar stays in our mouth. If you want to eat sweet sugary things the best time to do that is at meal times. You will produce more saliva when you’re eating and this will help to neutralise the acids the bacteria in your mouth produces to help rinse away sugary substances and food particles.
Some of the sweets that cause the most problems are lollipops, candy canes, boiled sweets and sticky toffees, any sweet food that stays in your mouth for a longer time while they are being eaten. It’s these sweets that combine with your mouth’s natural bacteria and form acids that wear away at your tooth enamel and cause cavities.
Drinking more alcohol over Christmas can also increase your risks of oral cancer and if you smoke too that risk increases. Alcohol dehydrates the cell walls in the mouth allowing carcinogens to enter the mouth tissues more easily. This can increase your risks of gum disease which destroys gum tissue and bone and is the leading cause of gum infections and tooth loss.
Christmas is the time when many of us neglect our oral hygiene routines and perhaps go to bed of a night after drinking and don’t brush our teeth. While one night of going to bed without brushing your teeth won’t hurt, repeated nights of not brushing your teeth will have an impact on your dental health.
Maintain healthy teeth by –
● Try and brush your teeth 3 times a day during the Christmas season and don’t forget to floss at least once a day
● Give yourself a nice new toothbrush – you should give yourself a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months
● Chew some sugarless gum, gum creates more saliva to help wash away sugar and other harmful acids.
● While it is hard, especially at Christmas parties, but try and avoid snacking between meals
If you feel like you need to improve on your daily brushing or want more of an incentive to brush regularly try an electric toothbrush. The cleaning is more powerful and also more thorough as the bristles actually get deeper between the teeth which removes more plaque. When you remove more plaque that means less fillings and healthier gums. If you don’t already have an electric toothbrush – why not add it to your Christmas wish list!