Updated: Jan 7
With party season just around the corner, we can all fall victim to over-indulgence – whether it’s too much wine at the staff party or extra chocolates floating around the office. While a lot of people are cautious of holiday weight gain, many tend to forget about their teeth, which are just as important. Excess sweets and alcohol can lead to cavities and weakened enamel, which are things you simply can’t reverse with a New Year’s Resolution.
Here are my top tips to help protect your teeth from decay and erosion this holiday season.
1. Use a straw (not a plastic one)
80% of common tooth problems are caused by acid attacks on the teeth, leading to erosion – 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. 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 is to use a straw so the drink doesn’t bathe your teeth.
2. Don’t skip your bedtime routine
As tempting as it is to come home and fall straight into bed, it’s important to ramp up your oral hygiene routine after all those nibbles and drinks.
Make sure you’re using a fluoride toothpaste to protect against damage. I recommend Regenerate Enamel Science Advanced Toothpaste as it can help re-mineralise early enamel erosion.
Be sure to spit, but not rinse, before bed to leave some of the toothpaste behind to protect the teeth. Don’t forget to also clean in between the teeth with either floss or interdental brushes, as brushing only cleans 60-65% of the tooth surface. Plaque and food debris left behind can lead to decay and gum disease over time.
3. Snack safely & stay hydrated
As with all food and drink, it’s not the amount you consume, but the frequency over which you have them. Every time you eat or drink, the bacteria in your mouth are fed and produce acid. This attacks the teeth, which increases the chances of developing dental decay and erosion. Try not to snack too much in between meals to reduce the risk.
Safe snacks such raw vegetables, popcorn, plain crisps and cheese are all great options. Regular water intake is crucial to not only keep you hydrated but also to help rinse away acid and food debris.
4. Freshen up on the go
If you are out and about, you can still keep your smile in check. Sugar-free chewing gum or mints after eating will 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 are Peppersmith (use my code ‘HYGIENIST10’ to get 10% off your order).
I also like 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 deliver long lasting freshness. Pass the mistletoe!
5. Don’t skip your dental appointments
No one wants toothache over the holidays. It is advised you see the dentist once a year so they can pick up on early dental problems and possibly prevent them from becoming bigger ones.
It’s also recommended that you see your hygienist twice a year to remove any build-up of plaque, helping to protect teeth and keep them stain-free.
As 2019 draws to a close why not book an appointment for a check-up and clean with London Hygienist? Want pearly whites this Christmas? Treat yourself or a loved one to one of the three teeth whitening options.