Health

Taking care of your teeth at Christmas

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, December 24, 2017

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CHRISTMAS is a very enjoyable time of year for most of us; a time when we can indulge in treats and drinks.

Of course, we do expect to pay the price in the new year. even the most disciplined among us will normally put on a couple of pounds, thanks to the calorie-laden Christmas dinner and extra fruit cake, sweets, alcoholic drinks, and hot chocolates, and the list goes on.

However, what is perhaps less widely reported is the effect all these extra goodies at Christmas can have on your teeth.

Christmastime dental care is important. From a dental health perspective, you might be surprised to know that it is less about how much you eat (the volume) and more about how often you eat (the frequency). It is much healthier to eat three balanced meals a day than have seven to 10 snacks throughout the day.

Snacking and drinking throughout the day with sweet or acidic food and drink create exactly the sort of climate that can cause bacteria and plaque acid to have a field day.

Here are some tips to ensuring a Christmas that your dentist would be proud of:

Keep up your dental hygiene routine

Ensure that your teeth are brushed with a good toothpaste and good toothbrush for at least three minutes twice a day. Don't be tempted to skip this as it is your best defence against the influx of sugar they are likely to receive.

Be aware of the risks

It's not just Christmas cakes and pudding; all those sweets between meals add up. Also, watch out for sugary drinks. Did you know a glass of coke contains a third of the recommended daily intake of sugar?

The main problem for dentists is not so much the amount of sugar, but the frequency of snacking, which can put sugar into your mouth several more times a day than normal. Try to minimise the number of occasions.

Remember, teeth are under attack for up to an hour after eating or drinking.

Redress the balance

It is not realistically feasible to brush your teeth each time you indulge, but perhaps a sugar-free gum or a bit of cheese is more manageable. Both of these are good for helping to return the normal acid balance which will lower the chances of tooth decay.

Be careful

Don't be tempted to use your teeth for things they weren't designed for... like tearing through tough packaging or opening beer bottles. This can damage your teeth and nobody wants an emergency dental visit over the festive period. Dental surgeons see too many cases of teeth requiring repair after patients using teeth as 'tools'.

Amid all the temptations and indulgences, it is easy to forget about your teeth over the Christmas period, but these tips should help and ensure you don't develop problems into the new year.

Season greetings from the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa.

Dr Sharon Robinson DDS has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa for an opportunity to take advantage of weekly specials.

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