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A blog including helpful hints and tips on how to look after your teeth at Christmas.
Christmas is a time when we all indulge in extra sweets, chocolates, mince pies etc. But don’t forget about your teeth during the festive period.
1. Sweet treats!
Mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding are all full of dried fruit which is particularly high in sugar, which can be damaging to your teeth. Think about how much and frequently you are consuming these treats. It is best to have something sweet with your meal rather than continuing to snack throughout the day.
When selecting your chocolates try to go for ones which melt and leave the mouth quickly. Beware of toffees! They are often responsible for pulling away existing dental restorations, such as fillings, crowns or bridgework.
2. Take 2 minutes to brush your teeth!
Don’t forget about brushing twice a day. We all know that, over Christmas, we tend to stay up too late and jump into bed and then are up early again in the morning. It only takes 2 minutes to brush your teeth, which is less time than the average Christmas song. Brushing twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste can help protect our teeth.
If you are not sure what to buy someone for Christmas, consider giving them an electric toothbrush. A study by the Oral Health Foundation found that using an electric toothbrush resulted in less gum recession and less tooth decay. It also noted that 13% of people starting using an electric toothbrush because they had received it as a gift. Many electric toothbrushes also now have a timer function to help to remind us all of how long we need to brush for, which can be useful during busy or stressful times.
3. Opt for the cheese!
Who doesn’t love a cheeseboard at Christmas! Cheese can also be really beneficial to your teeth by helping your mouth return to its natural acidic balance. An article by Colgate, suggests that the order in which we eat our food is important. So, when you leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk out for Santa, it is best to eat the cookies and then drink the milk, because milk will help lower the acidic levels in your mouth that have been created by eating the sugary food. Colgate further explains that milk and dairy products not only are a great source of calcium, but they also contain proteins which help to form a protective layer around the enamel on your teeth to help prevent decay.
Increased alcohol consumption over Christmas can also have a negative impact on your teeth, so moderation is key. Alcohol is damaging to teeth due to the acidity and sugar levels, which can soften the enamel on your teeth. The Oral Health Foundation states that beer, white wine and prosecco are all highly erosive for our teeth. They also caution against fizzy drinks, because fizziness is often a tell tale sign that a drink is acidic. Carbonated drinks are often added as mixers, or are given as a non-alcoholic alternative. Drinking through a straw or around mealtimes can be helpful to limit the amount of contact and time of exposure to your teeth.
5. Access to your dentist
Don’t forget to check the opening hours of your dentist over the Christmas break. Lots of dental practices have reduced working hours over the festive period. In a dental emergency, the first step should be to telephone your normal dental practice as the practice could still be open and, if it is not, there should be an answerphone message which provides details of how to obtain treatment. Alternatively, you can call NHS 111 and they will be able to assist in finding an out of hours dental service near you. In very serious circumstances, such as severe pain, heavy bleeding or injuries to the face mouth or teeth you can also attend A&E.
Don’t let dental pain ruin your Christmas! If you have any concerns regarding the dental treatment that you have received, and think that your dentist may have been negligent, please do not hesitate to contact the Dental Negligence team and we start investigating whether you have a claim.