Christmas is many peoples favourite time of the year. But it can come with excited kids, reduced dental clinic hours, sugary treats, and extra alcohol consumption, making it a tricky time for teeth. If you’re concerned about your family’s teeth this Christmas, follow these festive tips to help lower your risk of dental emergencies over the holiday period.
Try cutting down on sugar. When you consume sugar in food or drink, you’re not it alone. Bacteria living in plaque on your teeth also feast on this sugar and produce acid that can wear down the surface of your teeth over time. This is the process known as tooth decay.
People of all ages can be affected by tooth decay, but children’s teeth are especially vulnerable, as the enamel layer is thinner and weaker. This can lead to cavities forming if they consume too much sugar in drinks and snacks and aren’t brushing their teeth properly.
You don’t have to avoid sugar completely over the holidays, but it’s a good idea to limit how much you and your family consume. This doesn’t just mean the obvious sticky lollies and chocolate either, but also dried fruits that are high in sugar and stick to the teeth. And be wary of sugary beverages like soft drinks, fruit juices and sports drinks.
Less alcohol, more water. Alcohol is often a staple at many holiday parties and family gatherings, consuming it can add to your risk of dental emergency or problem. As well as causing teeth stains and increasing the risk of trips and falls that could damage teeth, excessive alcohol intake can be a risk factor for a number of oral health problems.
If you do drink, you can minimise some of its direct effects on your teeth by drinking water at the same time. Drinking water throughout the day helps wash away leftover food and dilute acids of the teeth.
Don’t use your teeth as tools. When you’re busy wrapping presents and you don’t have a pair of scissors handy, avoid the temptation to tear sticky tape with your teeth.
This goes for opening any kind of packaging, cracking nuts, or opening bottle caps – these can do all serious damage such as broken teeth or damaged dental work (crowns, dentures, etc). Make sure kids don’t try to open boxes or gifts using their teeth or mouths to tear at the packaging – a dental injury could do a lot to dampen the excitement of getting that new toy!
Lastly, don’t forget your hygiene habits. Even when there’s so much else to think about, it’s important to make sure you and your family are taking good care of your teeth and gums by following good oral hygiene every day. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing between your teeth once a day, following a healthy and balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and keeping up with your scheduled dental check-ups.
If you have little ones who are excited about a visit from Santa, now’s a good time to remind them that Santa would prefer they keep up with the brushing and flossing routine you’ve told them about!