‘Tis the season of goodwill and many of us are getting prepared for the ongoing Christmas festivities. This time of year often involves Christmas parties, drinks with friends and meals with loved ones. There are mince pies, Christmas puddings and cakes on offer, washed down with mulled wine or Baileys. This increase in sweet and sugary foods and drinks can take its toll on our teeth and gums.
However, help is at hand, and we would like to offer a few good tips on how to keep teeth healthy at this time of year.
- Treat yourself to a new toothbrush or head – these should be replaced every 3-4 months.
- If you can, try to avoid snacking in between meals.
- Up your brushing and brush and floss your teeth three times a day.
- Chew sugarless gum in-between meals as this promotes saliva increase, which washes away sugar and harmful acids.
- If chewing gum is not your thing, finish off your meals with cheese – it’s great for teeth and helps to return your mouth to its natural acid balance.
- Drink plenty of water – around two litres per day should keep you hydrated, which staves away harmful oral bacteria.
- Don’t use your teeth to open things – it sounds silly but so many dental accidents occur when people are opening the packaging, tearing boxes or opening bottles with their teeth.
Research, discussed by the Oral Health Foundation, has shown that it is not the number of sugary foods and drinks we consume that cause the issues with harmful bacteria and our teeth, it is how often and the prolonged periods we are eating sugar. If possible, try to have sweet foods at mealtimes alone, rather than snacking on them throughout the day and night.
Sticky foods such as dried fruits, fruit cakes, and Christmas pudding are all more likely to cause damage to your teeth as they have a high sugar content and are more likely to stick to your teeth, causing the harmful bacteria to form. Try drinking some water after you eat any particularly sticky foods. Your teeth and gums will thank you for it.