Maintaining Great Oral Health Over The Festive Period
Your Epsom dentist advises how to keep your teeth and gums healthy at this time of the year.
With Christmas just a week or so away, some of us will be getting excited whilst others will be working on last minute shopping for presents and food for the big day. Christmas is a great time to get together with family and friends and we often overindulge a little in our favourite things as well.
Without wishing to spoil the fun, our Clock Tower Dental Clinic team knows that this time of the year can result in specific risks to your teeth and oral health in general. It doesn’t have to be this way though and with just a little additional care, we can have a great holiday without endangering our oral health. To help with this, we offer some Christmas oral health tips below.
Sweets, chocolates and other sugary foods
We know that many of our patients will likely increase their consumption of unhealthy high sugar foods over the festive period. Sometimes we do this simply because we have been given chocolates as presents and break into these straight away. It is widely accepted that sugar consumption is one of the leading causes of tooth decay though and we should bear this in mind.
Where possible, try to reduce the amount of sugary foods that you eat, perhaps replacing them with alternatives such as nuts or crisps. If you do feel the need to eat your tempting box of chocolates on the day that you open them, do make sure to clean your teeth well so that any residual sugary deposits are removed.
Starting smoking again
A lot of you will probably be all too aware of how difficult it was to stop smoking. There is no doubt that in doing so, you will have benefited your general and oral health greatly. Christmas, however, is a time when we can easily waver and be tempted to start smoking again, especially when alcohol has been consumed.
Our advice is to resist this temptation. Smoking is heavily linked with gum disease and oral cancers amongst other well-known health issues. Accepting a cigarette or cigar with the intention of it being ‘just one’ may well be anything but, and we may find ourselves craving cigarettes again.
Like smoking, alcohol has been linked to oral health issues and should be avoided in excess. Having a glass of wine or two with your Christmas dinner should do little harm, but drinking throughout the day, and especially if applied over the whole holiday is likely to be harmful to your teeth and gums. The most common type of damage it can do is to increase the likelihood of gum disease. It does this largely by leaving us with a dry mouth overnight and allows potentially harmful oral bacteria to increase in our mouths while we sleep.
Drinking to excess can also lead to accidents such as falls. Where we hit our faces as we fall or collide with objects, there is a very real risk of teeth getting broken or even knocked out. Do try to keep your drinking to a sensible level and alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks, preferably water to help stay hydrated.
Your Christmas teeth cleaning regimen
If you have been busy preparing the Christmas dinner, entertaining the children and perhaps sneaking a quick drink of wine in between, there is every chance that by the end of the night you will be completely shattered and just want to crawl into bed to go to sleep.
Although this is understandable, we urge you to try to stay awake for a few more minutes to make sure that your teeth and gums are really clean before you go to sleep. Failure to do this will mean that your teeth and gums are coated in sugar all night long, attacking the protective tooth enamel. Where this becomes sufficiently compromised, the tooth may start to decay.
Make sure to brush your teeth really well and floss them too. This will give them a good chance of avoiding some of those Christmas excesses.
Once Christmas is over and we start to get back to normal a little, there are a few things that you can do, going into the New Year, to make sure that your teeth are as healthy as possible. You can use the new year to make resolutions to eat more tooth friendly foods and to stop smoking if you currently do. You can also check to make sure that you have a dental check up already booked in the new year, and if you don’t, make sure to make one.
For those of you who, perhaps with the best of intentions, failed to look after your teeth as well as you know you should have done, all is not lost. Why not consider an additional appointment with the hygienist to get your teeth and gums really clean for the start of the new year? Alternatively you may wish to consider enhancing your smile with one or more of the latest cosmetic dentistry treatments we are pleased to offer.
This will be the last blog of 2019 so please allow us to take this opportunity to wish all of our Epsom patients a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
With best wishes from all at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic ( 01372 720136 ).