Christmas is a time most of us approach with wild abandon when it comes to healthy eating and taking good care of our teeth. With festive buffets aplenty, parties galore and the excuse to graze on edible delights for weeks on end, this can be a pretty traumatic time of the year for the teeth and gums. The good news is that there are ways to ensure your smile survives the festivities.
To combat decay and keep tooth pain at bay, dentists have shared tips and tricks that will prove useful over the coming weeks.
Our diet is the main problem when it comes to festive tooth pain. Many of us consume more sugary and acidic food and drink than normal in the run-up to Christmas and New Year, and this can take its toll. To lower the risk of cavities, infections and toothache, dentists encourage sticking to main meals, avoiding snacking on anything sugary or acidic between meals and opting for healthier, low-sugar alternatives to popular Christmas treats and tipples. If you’re partial to glasses of Prosecco, alcopops or festive hot drinks, for example, switching to a measure of spirit with diet mixers and cups of tea or coffee without added sugar can make all the difference. A recent report by Action on Sugar suggested that some of the most popular seasonal hot drinks sold at high street coffee shops contained more than 20 teaspoons of sugar.
Another issue is dental hygiene. If you’re rushed off your feet, or you’re getting in late after post-work drinks and office parties, cleaning your teeth might not be your number one priority, but good oral hygiene is arguably more important at this time of year than any other. An effective daily oral hygiene regime should include twice-daily brushing for 2 minutes each time and cleaning between the teeth daily.
Finally, anyone who hasn’t seen their dentist in the last 6-12 months is strongly encouraged to call and make an appointment either before Christmas or in the New Year. Regular routine checks can help to lower the risk of decay and gum disease, as well as ensuring warning signs of issues like mouth cancer are identified and addressed as early as possible.