The season to be jolly is almost upon us and so will the time to indulge in excess. Not only will all that eating, and drinking take a toll on your waistline, but it will also have a detrimental effect on your teeth.
Here are a few tips to maintain your oral health this Christmas so that you do not have to pay too many visits to your dentist in the New Year.
Do not slack on your oral care
As all dentists will tell you, it is not so much about how much sugar you eat or drink, it is more about how long it sits in your mouth. It is advisable to eat and drink sweets and sugary drinks at mealtimes because we produce more saliva that will neutralise the bacterial acid and help to rinse away food particles and sugary substances.
While it is tempting to crawl straight into bed after a late holiday party, it is an absolute must to brush and floss your teeth. This is because bacteria are highly active at night and brushing/flossing will help clear away food residue and starve the bacteria.
Sometimes, caramels and toffees will stick to your gums and small grooves of your teeth which is exceedingly difficult even to get rid of, even with regular brushing and flossing. It is also advisable to get a professional clean at your dentist after the holiday season.
During the holiday season, try and brush your teeth three times a day and floss at least once a day. Change your toothbrush before the season starts and after the holidays are over.
Choose to eat or drink wisely
Some foods and drinks during the holiday season can stain your teeth which has the danger of remaining behind even after the holiday season. It is advised to avoid foods that contain chromogens (compounds that contain strong pigments that cling to enamel), tannins (plant-based compounds that make it easier for stains to stick to teeth), and acids (these make tooth enamel softer and rougher, so it’s easier for stains to set in). foods like coffee, red wine, dark teas, and berries which are popular during the holiday season can create unsightly stains on your teeth. If it is too much of a bother to keep watch on what you eat or drink, you should consider a dental clean or teeth whitening once the holiday season is over.
Alcohol consumption is thought to increase the risk of oral cancer when combined with tobacco. This is believed because alcohol dehydrates the cell walls in your mouth which the carcinogens can permeate more easily. It can also increase your risk of gum disease which destroys gum tissue and bone and is the leading cause of tooth loss and gum infections.
Avoid old habits or take a break from the current ones
During the holiday season, people relax a bit more which causes them to fall back on old habits. A habit like smoking in excess during the holidays can not only increase the chances of oral cancer but also lead to stained or yellowed teeth. Avoid using the holiday season as an excuse to revert to unhealthy ways.
Drinking plenty of water regularly will not only help to wash away sugar and harmful acids, but it will also help to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Start a healthy routine
Whether it is regular brushing and flossing, drinking plenty of water, staying away from sugary foods and drinks, the holiday season is always a good time to start a healthy new routine. In the season where you will be tempted to do everything in excess, following a strict healthy routine will work wonders for your self-esteem and happiness. Use this holiday season to make a difference to yourself, starting with your teeth.
And what to do in an emergency?
There will always be an emergency during the holiday season when your dentist might be closed such as chipped teeth, broken teeth, or toothache. For temporary relief of toothache, see our blog How to get rid of a toothache. For more serious issues, always visit an emergency dentist.
Want to know more about taking care of your teeth?