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How To Protect Your Smile This Christmas

publication date: Nov 15, 2019
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author/source: Rena Wadia

Healthy smile image from RW Perio

All I want for Christmas is an electric toothbrush

Christmas is a time for giving, so why not gift yourself (or your family and friends) with the latest electric toothbrush. The current technology is pretty impressive and it’s a gift which will be useful every day. 

Your teeth are for chewing!

Wrapping presents (especially at the last minute) can involve ripping off strips of sticky tape with your teeth. Don’t do it – you’ll be putting lots of pressure on the edges of your teeth when you tear the sticky tape, so it’s an easy way to crack or weaken teeth, or even dislodge a crown or veneer. So as silly as this sounds, invest in a tape dispenser. In the same way, cracking nuts with your teeth is a bad idea. It can shatter teeth so use nutcrackers. After a few drinks, opening bottles with your teeth may similarly seem like a good idea, but it’s obviously got the potential to cause serious damage. So if you’re hosting a Christmas party, make sure you’ve got plenty of bottle openers handy for guests!

Avoid grazing
Of course, it’s difficult with so many delicious treats on tap at this time of year but try to avoid continuously grazing during the festive period. This drip-feed approach isn’t a good idea as it doesn’t give your mouth a chance to recover from sugar attacks. It’s not the amount of sugar you eat that damages your teeth, it’s how often you eat it. So yes, that’s permission to gobble all those mince pies in one go!

Be mindful of the "Prosecco smile"
Christmas wouldn’t be complete without this sparkling treat but Prosecco is one of the most dentally-damaging drinks due to its acidity, sugar content and alcohol levels. Limit the damaging effects by enjoying in moderation, adding ice to dilute and drinking lots of water in between. Also, due to it’s acidic nature, brushing straight after a drink is a bad idea as it will just rub in the acid into your teeth. Instead, wait at least half an hour or so after you've had your last drink before brushing your teeth. 

Maintain your home care routine 
It’s going to be tricky with lots of late-night parties and weekends away but maintain your oral care regime to keep your teeth and gums healthy. This should include brushing twice a day (first thing in the morning and last thing at night) and daily interdental cleaning. It’s tempting to go to bed without brushing your teeth after a late-night so why not get your family’s toothbrushes with toothpaste ready in advance? That way, half the job is already done. Also make sure you’re brushing for at least two minutes – make it more fun by brushing along to your favourite Christmas song! You may also want to add in tongue cleaning as well as a mouthwash to ensure you maintain that fresh breath over the festive period.

Neutralise the nasties

Cheese is one of the few festive indulgences that is actually good for your teeth as it can neutralise the effects of sugar/acidic treats – so that’s a good excuse to treat yourself to a nibble (or two) at the end of your evening meal. 

Saliva is a saviour 
Chewing sugar-free gum is a great way to increase saliva flow and thereby reduce chances of tooth decay and improve gum health. 

Pearly whites
To keep your teeth nice and white for those Christmas photos, make sure you minimise foods and drinks which can stain your teeth easily such a coffee, tea and red wine. If you can’t live without your tea and coffee, try and have some water in between as this usually helps.

Eat your sprouts
Diet has an important role in oral and general health so keep up a well-balanced diet with regular fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the festive period and beyond. 

 

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