The festive season is one of the most indulgent, and we all seem to fall victim to excess food and drink this time of year. Whether it be too much wine or too many mince pies, we’re all guilty of consuming well above our daily intake of sugar, which can take a toll on our oral health.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to protect your teeth and gums this time of year, helping to keep that gorgeous smile intact. Here are my five tips for protecting your smile this holiday season:
1. Use a straw (not a plastic one)
Up to 80% of tooth problems are caused by acid attacks on the teeth. Acidity can lead to erosion, which is the permanent and irreversible wearing away of enamel (the hard outer part of the tooth).
Wine, beer, spirits and mixed drinks are acidic and have high sugar content. In addition, alcohol also causes dehydration and dry mouth, which can lead to erosion, decay and an increased risk of gum disease. One way to minimise damage when you are drinking this season is to use a straw, so the drink doesn’t bathe your teeth with acid or too much sugar.
2. Don’t skip your bedtime routine
As tempting as it is to come home and fall straight into bed after all those nibbles and drinks, it’s important to ramp up your oral hygiene routine this time of year.
Make sure you use a fluoride toothpaste to protect against damage. I recommend Regenerate Enamel Science Advanced Toothpaste as it can help remineralise early enamel erosion. Be sure to spit, but not rinse before bed to leave some of the toothpaste behind to protect the teeth.
3. Snack safely & stay hydrated
We all consume a lot of food and drink at Christmastime. However, it’s actually not the amount of food and drink you consume that can have a negative affect on your teeth, it’s actually the frequency in which you have them.
The main cause of tooth decay is poor food and beverage choices – particularly those with high levels of sugar. When these are consumed, bacteria in the mouth thrives and grows off the sugar consumed. The bacteria then cling to the teeth, creating a chemical reaction that then eats away at the enamel. When this layer erodes, teeth become susceptible to damage and decay.
Try not to snack too much in between meals to reduce this risk. Snack on safe items such as raw vegetables, crisps and cheese.
In addition to eating healthy, regular water intake is crucial to not only keeping you hydrated, but also to help rinse away acid and food debris between snacks. Avoid festive coffees if you can as they have extremely high sugar and fat content.
4. Chew gum
Chewing sugar-free gum or popping mints after eating encourage saliva production to help neutralise plaque acids and remove food debris. For extra dental protection opt for those with Xylitol in them, as it has been clinically proven to be kill the bacteria responsible for dental decay.
My favourite options are Peppersmith and Regenerate’s Advanced Foaming Mouthwash, which comes in a handy bottle you can slip into your bag. It has been developed to help restore early enamel mineral erosion, as well as delivering long lasting freshness. Pass the mistletoe!
5. Don’t skip your dental appointments
No one wants toothache over the holidays. It is advised that you see the dentist once a year for early detection on any dental problems. It is also recommended to the see the hygienist between one and four times a year, depending on your needs, to remove any build-up of plaque and to maintain your oral hygiene.
Don’t wait – book your appointment with London Hygienist today!