It's not easy to stay healthy during the holidays. Sweets seem to appear everywhere you go, and with all the festivities there's not much time to devote to your health and well-being.
However, you still have to be mindful of your oral health which can help to avoid dental disasters over the holiday period.
1. Don't let your oral health routine slip
Taking a break from our usual routines over the holiday period can be a welcome change from work or school. However, one part of our daily routines that shouldn't be left behind is our oral health. In fact, it's even more important to keep up with your daily brushing and flossing over the Christmas period, given that most of us will be tucking into more indulgent foods than normal. Whatever your plans for the holidays involve, it's vital to make a point of maintaining your usual oral hygiene practice, including brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day.
2. Be sugar-savvy
Indulging in a few sugar-laden treats over the Christmas period is totally fine – but taking care not to go overboard can help protect your teeth from a slew of dental problems. Sugar build-up can cause bacteria to develop on teeth, leading to issues such as cavities and tooth decay. If you can't resist the sugary foods on offer, it's a good idea to avoid too much snacking between meals. By consuming sweet foods during mealtimes – such as for dessert – your mouth will have produced more saliva which can neutralise excess sugars. If you can't always brush your teeth after eating sugar-rich foods, have a quick rinse of your mouth with water. This can help to wash away sugar particles and avoid them from building up on the surface of your teeth.
3. Skip the super-hard foods
Unfortunately, some of our favourite Christmas foods can be bad news for our teeth. For example, foods such as candy canes, Christmas brittle, toffees and candied nuts have very hard textures, which can put extra pressure on our teeth when chewing or biting into them. Eating hard foods like these can result in damage to your teeth, including broken or chipped teeth which will require emergency dental care – not ideal when you're trying to enjoy the holidays.
While it's best to opt for softer foods where possible, if you do feel tempted by a harder snack, take extra care and consume in small bites.
4. Avoid overindulging in acidic foods
Acidic foods can weaken the protective layer of enamel that covers the surface of our teeth, leaving them exposed to a wide range of oral health issues. As acid-rich food and drinks include things like citrus fruits, red wine, and fizzy drinks, you may find you're consuming more of them over Christmas. It's advisable to minimise your consumption of acidic foods to protect your teeth. However, if you are consuming acid-rich food and drinks, there are a few ways to help combat the damaging effects of acid:
• Use a straw when drinking acidic beverages
• Drink water after consuming acidic foods to help wash away bacteria
• Chew sugar-free gum after eating to remove bacteria
• After eating or drinking acidic products, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth – this avoids brushing away the acid-weakened enamel
5. Enjoy alcohol in moderation
Whether it's a festive mulled wine or a post-dinner brandy, many of us enjoy a Christmas tipple over the holidays. However, taking care to minimise your alcohol intake is good for your teeth as well as your general health. Alcohol increases the risk of dental health issues such as gum disease, as well as being acidic, which can weaken the tooth enamel. While it's fine to indulge in a drink or two, keeping your festive alcohol consumption to a healthy level will help to keep teeth protected and strong. Rinsing your mouth out with water after drinking alcoholic beverages can help to wash away acid and bacteria to avoid these substances building up on your teeth.
Dr Sharon Robinson's office, The Dental Place Cosmestix Spa is located at Winchester Business Center Shop #5. You can contact us at 876 630 4710 or WhatsApp 876 441 4872. You can also get social with us on Instagram: @Dentalcosmetixspa and Facebook: DentalCosmetixspa