Christmas is a great time of year for everyone. Lots of food and drink, time spent with the family and a well-earned break from work. But the dentists in us are always worried around this time of year, because Christmas is often when the worst teeth damage occurs. From overindulgence in sweet food to someone trying to open bottles with their teeth, we always see a range of issues in the New Year. So, this year we have some advice to help keep your teeth and mouth happy.
Keep Up Your Dental Hygiene Routine
We all know that once the Christmas holidays start normal routines go out the window. There is so much going on, a lot of travelling and much more eating and drinking at different times that it can be challenging to keep to a routine. And for the most part, you don’t have to. But one thing you should keep the same, no matter what’s happening, is your dental hygiene routine.
Your teeth and mouth take quite a hammering over Christmas, with a lot of sugary foods and drinks, as well as higher levels of alcohol than normal, all making their way through your mouth and leaving residue. Make sure that teeth get brushed before presents are opened, and if everyone gets a bit tired in the afternoon, consider moving your second brushing to then, rather than in the evening before stumbling to bed.
Eat Cheese with Your Wine to Protect Your Teeth
This one probably won’t be that hard to stick to, since wine and cheese are a natural combo! It might seem odd that we’re recommending you eat more, but there is a good reason for that. Eating cheese alongside your wine can help avoid red stains on your teeth, and it also gives your teeth a layer of protection against the damage sugars and alcohol can cause. So just add a cheeseboard to your Christmas menu!
Hard cheeses are the best cheese for teeth for various reasons.
- The action of biting into the cheese helps remove plaque.
- They require more chewing which stimulates more saliva.
- They contain very little lactose. Soft cheeses contain more lactose. This is a type of sugar found in milk.
Hard cheese also acts as a kind of wax barrier, preventing stained teeth from red wine or cranberries, which will just bead up and roll off. Cheese is also a great way to promote the health of your mouth, since it returns the mouth to its natural acid balance and reduces the chances of tooth decay from those overly sweet, sticky puddings. Even a small amount of cheese will have this positive effect, as will sugar-free chewing gum – but this might make you unpopular at the dinner table!
Watch the Christmas Crackers
This is the time of year when the boxes of Quality Street get passed around, and even if you don’t usually eat them, we often indulge. Too often we’ve seen customers come in having been overzealous when chewing a particularly hard toffee and lost their filling in it. Be mindful of just how hard and sticky things like toffees are, after all, you don’t want to spend Christmas getting your fillings replaced! Christmas nuts are also a prime culprit of cracked teeth or fillings over Christmas, especially those that require a bit of encouragement to come out of their shells.
The final offender for damaging teeth over Christmas is actually Christmas crackers! It’s amazing how many people get overexcited about crackers and use their teeth to try and get them open (or to snap) if they fail. Just remember, your teeth are not tools, and they shouldn’t be used like them!
Remember that as an adult, you only have one set of teeth, and you need to take care of them. We aren’t saying you shouldn’t indulge and enjoy Christmas (after all, that’s what it’s all about) but it should be something you think about. Simply making sure you keep up your dental hygiene routine and beware of sticky, sweet foods hanging around causing problems is enough to keep the dentist away in the New Year.