We all enjoy the Christmas holidays and the delicious treats it brings, but it’s important to spare a thought for your teeth; constant snacking on mince pies, boxes of chocolates, Christmas pudding and your favourite tipple can cause damage beyond the festive period.
Below, we share five festive tips to help you keep your teeth healthy.
1. Brush after sticky food
Christmas cake, pudding and mince pies are laden with dried fruit, which is high in sugar that can stick to your teeth. In addition, we can often indulge in boxes of chocolates and sticky toffees during the festive period too, putting your teeth under constant attack.
It’s essential to pay extra attention when brushing your teeth over the festive season, and to encourage children to stick to their routine of cleaning their teeth properly before they go to bed.
2. Clean your teeth well
You should brush your teeth at least twice a day… and no, there are not any excuses on Christmas Day!
We’d recommend spending a minimum of two minutes using toothpaste containing at least 1450ppm fluoride, as this helps protect teeth from cavities; however, you must spit the remaining fluid out, and not rinse your teeth when you’ve finished brushing, to avoid washing the fluoride away.
It’s also good to use interdental brushes or dental floss to remove sticky plaque from in between your teeth. It’s important to supervise children’s brushing, and to remind family of all ages to brush their teeth thoroughly before they go to bed.
Find more useful tips on cleaning your teeth in our short video from our hygienist Gill. Simply click the button below to play.
3. Eat and drink in moderation
Christmas is a time to enjoy festive food and drink, but ensure you’re mindful of the effects constant feasting will have on your teeth. It’s not always the amount of sugar in your food and drink, but how often these are consumed.
Maybe pass on that extra sweet, or replace your last drink of the evening with a glass of milk?
By consuming your favourite festive treats in moderation you’ll help protect your teeth from decay.
4. Use a bottle opener
Teeth were never designed to open bottles, nor should they be used to open packets of crisps, tear off labels or cut sellotape! Always take a moment to find the bottle opener or scissors to prevent any damage to your teeth.
If you do chip, break or crack a tooth, contact your dentist to book an appointment to fill the tooth or smooth rough edges. And if you have pulled a whole tooth out by the root, don’t panic. Try and put it back in the socket without handling the root, keep it inside your cheek or place it in milk, and book in for an emergency dental appointment for prompt treatment.
5. Don’t forget the cheeseboard!
After all your festive feasting, save a little space for the cheeseboard.
Cheese is great for your teeth as it helps return your mouth to its natural acid balance and helps prevent tooth decay.
Another Christmas treat that complements your turkey are cranberries, which have been proven to help prevent both gum disease and tooth decay, as well as being good for your overall health.
However, as with point three above, moderation is important, as cranberries are acidic so are best eaten with your Christmas meal followed by some cheese for rebalance. Although not a festive tradition, sugar-free chewing gum can also help protect your teeth and gums in between meals.
We hope you have found these festive tips useful, and we’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the team at Elmsleigh House Dental Clinic.
Please note the clinic is closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day - but for emergency appointments you can ring the clinic number and get directed to our dentist on call, who can give you advice and emergency treatment if needed (emergency fees apply).
For more helpful information and other advice about how to keep your teeth healthy, read our free guide to good oral care.