Happy Christmas And Good Oral Health!

A few festive suggestions to help you look after your teeth and gums in the coming weeks

As this will probably be our last blog until 2021, we thought that we would use it to help you get through the festive season, keeping your teeth and gums in good health. For many of us, this will probably be a completely different Christmas to the ones we have been used to, with gatherings being much smaller or even cancelled altogether. Despite this, it is quite likely that some of us will compensate for what has been a pretty horrible year, with a major ‘blow out’ of festive food and fun.

We are not expecting our Burton patients to be ‘angels’ and we know that more sweets, chocolates, alcohol etc will be consumed in the coming weeks than would normally be the case. The fact is though, that no one wants to spend the festive season nursing a toothache or a damaged tooth.

With that in mind, here are some top festive tips from the team at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice to help you keep your teeth healthy over Christmas and the New Year.

Maintain your teeth cleaning regime

Most of us hopefully brush our teeth twice a day without really giving it a second thought. It has long been a routine which we keep to. Christmas can be quite a disruptive period though, especially if you have children, and it is quite possible that our usual routine quickly goes out of the window.

Although this is understandable, it is important that we do not skip our teeth cleaning routine. Whilst the morning brushing may not pose too many problems, although you may forget in the excitement of opening your presents of course! The evening brushing is likely to be more vulnerable as we become tired after a long day of cooking, entertaining etc and we may feel too tired to brush our teeth and go to bed without having done so. As you will know from our  previous blogs, going to sleep with your teeth coated in sugar is a very bad idea and a recipe for disasters including tooth decay and gum disease.

However tired you are, make sure to give your teeth the usual two minute brushing just before you go to bed, and no sneaking that last chocolate afterwards!  Also, do try to floss as well. This is a great way of removing pieces of food that have become trapped between your teeth.

Go steady with the chocolates

Well, there is no need to hide them exactly. We know that most people will eat more chocolate than usual at Christmas. It is a good idea though to keep them out of easy reach. If they are too close to you, you may find yourself continually ‘dipping’ into them whilst you watch an afternoon film with the kids (if they don’t eat them all first of course). By keeping them that little bit further away, you are likely to eat less of them as you would have to make an effort to get up to get one.

It is also worth remembering that it is better to eat say 10 sweets in a short time than it is to ‘graze’ the same number over a longer period of time. Although the same amount of sugar would be consumed, eating them in a short period of time allows your mouth to recover and the acid levels in your mouth to balance again. ‘Grazing’ means that your teeth simply don’t get a chance to recover before you eat the next one.

Beware of excess alcohol

Whether it be wine, beer or whisky, alcohol is generally not great for your oral health. Like most things though, if consumed in moderation, and you clean your teeth, it shouldn’t be a major problem. It is worth remembering three things that can go wrong if you drink too much alcohol though.

  • You are likely to feel more tired and are much more likely therefore to forget or to skip cleaning your teeth at night
  • Alcohol consumption often leads to a dry mouth and this, in turn, increases the likelihood of gum disease
  • The risk of accidents are greatly increased if you have had too much alcohol. A fall or collision with another object could see you seeking an emergency dental appointment for a badly broken tooth.

Don’t start smoking

If you have previously been a smoker (and even if you haven’t), don’t be tempted when the ‘Christmas cigars’ are offered around. It may, or may not be a part of your family tradition, but one taste of a cigar may well act as a trigger to start you smoking again. Most ex smokers know how hard it can be to stop, and with smoking being a major contributor to both gum disease and oral cancer, it simply isn’t worth the risk.

Cheese and water

Finally, two little tips that can really help your teeth this Christmas and are not things that you need to be ‘denied’.

Firstly, whether you drink alcohol or not, try to drink plenty of water throughout the day, This will help to fight off tiredness and also help to wash some of those excess sugars from your teeth and gums.

Secondly, try finishing your meals with a small piece of cheese. This is a great way of reducing the acidity levels of your mouth and will help to protect your teeth and gums.

We hope that our Burton patients have a great Xmas and New Year and the team at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Mike Allen – Practice Owner – GDC number 55931