The festive season is upon us and provides the perfect opportunity for us to indulge. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect your oral health! We are tempted now more than ever by chocolate sweets, bubbly treats, candy canes and other Christmas desserts. Christmas time is a time of relaxing and feasting on plenty of delicious foods with family and friends. The last thing you want is a dental emergency over Christmas! Often these foods are unhealthy and are bombarded with sugar. While sugar is the main ingredient in many celebratory foods, it’s also one of the main causes of cavities. Cavities and tooth decay are caused by the buildup of plaque and are heavily influenced by what we eat and how well we clean our teeth.
Maintaining good oral health care during the festive season can be difficult, especially with so many temptations of sugary sweets. Follow our festive survival guide and tips this Christmas to minimise the risk of decay and to get through the holidays with a healthy smile.
Set A Limit
Delicious foods are around us during the Christmas season, making it tempting to graze all day and sink our teeth into scrumptious snacks. Unfortunately, eating all day puts our oral health at more risk as it leaves food and bacteria in our mouth for a long period of time. Set up specific times to set up the table for the festive feast, whether it's sit down or buffet style meals. This helps with reducing over-indulging & the buildup of plaque on your teeth.
Ease Up On The Festive Spirits & Wines
Most alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages are acidic that soften the surface of your teeth and weaken your tooth enamel. Consumption of alcohol causes dehydration which reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth. Low production of saliva takes longer to neutralise these acids and slows down the process of remineralising your teeth. It’s a great idea to consume these beverages with a straw and safeguard your teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum and drinking water will also help to neutralise your mouth and wash away any bacteria.
Be Strategic About Consuming Acidic Foods & Drinks
It’s important to note if you are consuming high acidic foods and drinks, to NOT brush your teeth straight afterwards. After the acid attack from foods and drinks your enamel is weakened. That’s why it’s recommended to wait 30 minutes to 1 hour before brushing. This will allow the enamel to recover and strengthen again before being in contact with toothpaste. Brushing straight away risks the possibility of brushing away the acid-weakened enamel - permanently!
If you enjoy devouring a cheese platter, especially around Christmas time, have no fear! Our mouths love soft cheeses as it keeps tooth decay at bay. It helps to restore acid balance and protects your teeth and gums.
Fill Up On Fruit Platters
All sugars can cause damage to your teeth, however incorporating more fruits in your festive feast is a healthier alternative to other sugary foods. At your next Christmas dinner or lunch, instead of stocking up on desserts or rich side dishes, prepare a fruit platter to satisfy your sweet tooth. It’s a great way to cleanse the palette, easy to prepare and may cause less damage to your teeth than chocolate or cakes would.
Don’t Be A Sugar Addict
Try reducing the amount of sugar you and your family consume this Christmas. As the risk of sounding like the Christmas Grinch, limit your sweets! Most foods can be consumed in moderation and our desire to snack is heightened during the holiday season. If you crave a Christmas treat you can still get into the spirit and enjoy your favourite treats - but don’t over indulge!
Be careful with candy and candy canes. You’d be surprised by the number of visits we receive from people chipping their teeth after chewing into hard foods! Biting down into hard lollies and foods can crack your teeth and cause excruciating pain. Common Christmas foods to be cautious of are candy canes, nuts, toffees, mince piece, dried fruit and roasts.
There’s no escaping the temptation of hard foods however there are solutions! Instead of biting let the food dissolve and disintegrate in your mouth. Another way to satisfy your Christmas craving is to opt for softer varieties and sugar-free options. If that Christmas brittle is calling your name, proceed with caution and take smaller bites!