Christmas is almost upon us again and for most of us, ’tis the season for a little more indulgence! Chocolate, cake, chips, Christmas pudding, custard, endless bowls of sweets – you name it, we munch it. Drinks are flowing, nibbles are being passed around, and our nearest and dearest from far and wide are coming together again to celebrate Christmas. For our teeth and gums however, it is an entirely different experience. There’s a lot going on at this time of year and much to think about and plan, so naturally our usual habits or routines get thrown into disarray as we try to juggle social calendars. This is all part of the Christmas buzz, but what shouldn’t get left behind in this buzz is your dental hygiene routine. After all, ’tis also the season for tooth cavities.
We want your smile to stay merry, bright, and healthy all the way through Christmas, to New Year’s Eve, and 2020, so here are our top tips on avoiding Christmas cavities this festive season!
Moderate your sugar intake
As hard as it may be to resist all of the wonderful sweets that are been offered to you, try to limit how many sweets, Christmas puddings and candy canes you consume! Eating too much of these can cause serious problems for your teeth but you don’t have to cut them out completely.
When you are constantly grazing on sugary foods, you are keeping your teeth constantly exposed to sugars and acids. This unrelenting top-up will eventually lead to cavities and the breakdown of your protective enamel. Instead, try to have single portions of treats, i.e. a dessert after a meal, and then clean your teeth straight after. This will mean your teeth aren’t being exposed to sugar for as long as they would be when you’re snacking constantly, thus reducing the risk of tooth decay.
Other things to try and avoid are sticky foods that may stick to your teeth for longer than other food types (e.g. dried fruits); hard candies that could chip your teeth; and foods that are starchy, e.g. cakes and chips. Eating these in moderation will help to prevent any nasty side-effects and it’ll also help if you can rinse your mouth out after eating any of these types of food, as will flossing in between meals.
Drink alcohol in moderation
Just like your exposure to sugar, alcohol becomes a much more frequent indulgence around this time of year. There are more social occasions, work parties, and festive meals that call for a little glass of this or that. Whether you simply have one or two drinks with dinner or enjoy a night out, you’re going to be offered alcoholic drinks much more frequently than usual. Most alcoholic drinks during this season are full of harmful tannins, acids, and sugars. Red wine, for example, is rich in tannins that are pigments found in fruit skins, leaves, and pulp that gives the drink its indulgent flavour. However, these tannins also stain your teeth and dry out your mouth, encouraging the staining to stick even faster. White wine is also another culprit of cavities in that it is very acidic, eating away at your enamel and eroding the surfaces of your teeth over time. Even fizzy drinks and fruit juices that are commonly mixed with your favourite spirits and cocktails contain acids and sugars that can cause cavities when left to their own devices. To combat the Christmas cavities, try drinking your alcoholic beverages through a straw to limit their contact with the surfaces of your teeth. Also, have a glass of water between drinks or at least rinse your mouth around with it to dislodge any stubborn pigments and acids still lurking.
Want to prevent cavities? Brush your teeth!
With how exciting and therefore draining Christmas can be, we know the temptation to fall into bed and sleep it all off at the end of a night is far too real. For adults and children alike, all of the festivities can lead to us just wanting to lay our heads down and sleep peacefully. It’s temptations like these that breed Christmas cavities, because you’re letting all of the sugar, fizzy drinks, and alcohol sit on your teeth over night to work their dastardly ways. It’s super important that remember to brush your teeth before going to bed at night, because otherwise these acids of sugars will begin their pilgrimage into cavities. Brushing, flossing, and mouthwash is definitely very important during this concentrated month of celebrations so make sure you and your family are taking care of your teeth.
Always remembers these teeth saving tips when eating and drinking over Christmas:
- Don’t graze on snacks or sip on sugary drinks. Consume in a timely fashion.
- Minimise the time sugars are present in your mouth. (E.g. avoid sucking lollies).
- Don’t forget your daily brush and floss routine. Look out for plaque build-ups. Keep your teeth clean and fresh, and stay hydrated when you are not eating.
- Don’t savour that lingering food-flavour after-taste. That’s actually the taste of trapped food residue on your teeth and tongue. At the very least, rinse your mouth with water to wash away food residue after snacking. Tooth picks and sugar-free gum can also assist.
- Moderation is key – eat when you are hungry. Avoid binge eating snack foods or sipping large quantities of sugary soft drinks.
- Try to make healthier food choices for snacks, if you can!
We want you to have a cavity free Christmas at Riversdale Dental! Please feel free to book your last-minute dentist appointment today on (03) 9882 5566 to ensure you have sparkly and shiny teeth ready for the holidays.