Festive Oral Health Tips
Helping our Addlestone patients avoid dental problems over the Christmas holiday period
We hope that you enjoyed our introductory blog which was posted recently. We promise that we will get into the ‘nitty gritty’ of procedures and dental problems in the New Year, looking at each of them in more detail. With Christmas now just a few days away though, we thought that it would be a good idea to look at a few simple ways that you can make the most of the festivities, without harming your teeth and gums.
No one wants to spend Christmas in pain with a severe toothache, or a tooth that has broken or been knocked out, making it difficult to enjoy their Christmas dinner. Whilst accidents can, and do, happen, here are a few things that our Synergy Clinic patients might wish to consider in order to have a safe and happy Christmas.
There is little doubt that some of us will drink more than we usually do over the Christmas holidays. Whilst we may rarely drink during the rest of the year, there is a tendency to ‘let ourselves go’ over the Christmas break. This can have disastrous results for a few people and accidents such as falls or blows to the face are much more likely if we are under the influence of to much alcohol. Do try to moderate your intake, perhaps alternating your beverages with good old water. You will probably be grateful for it the next day!
Use a bottle opener
Fortunately not a common occurrence, but people have been known, perhaps under the influence of alcohol, to ‘show off’ by opening bottles with their teeth. It goes without saying that this poses a real risk for your teeth, with large chips and broken teeth being a likely outcome. It is also worth remembering that one small slip and you could cause yourself some serious facial injuries too.
Like alcohol, sugar consumption is almost certain to rise over the holidays. Sweets and chocolates are often left out, making it all too easy to dip our hands in and snack on them throughout the day.
In addition to the actual quantity of sugar that we eat, this method of snacking, or grazing, will also have an effect on our teeth. The continual flow of sugar means that the enamel of our teeth will not have a chance to recover, leaving it not only at the mercy of the sugar, but also less well protected. Do try to leave gaps of a reasonable length between eating, and especially where sweets and chocolates are concerned. This will allow your teeth time to remineralise before the next round.
There are many good reasons to make sure that you are well hydrated throughout the day. Not only will this help to counteract the effects of alcohol and help you through what may be a very long day, but will also play an important role in helping to keep your teeth and gums in good health. We know that gum disease bacteria thrive in dry warm conditions and being dehydrated is likely to mean that you have a dry mouth whilst you sleep. In addition to this, drinking water throughout the day will also help to loosen and remove some food particles from between your teeth.
Smoking is bad for your health, full stop. It is also a significant contributor to gum disease, infections and even oral cancers. If you have managed to stop smoking, don’t be tempted to start again over the holidays. A celebratory cigar to welcome in the new year may be a ‘tradition’, but if you have managed to stop smoking, it is one that you should definitely avoid.
Keeping your teeth healthy at Christmas is not all about avoiding things. We positively encourage you to eat cheese, especially after a meal (unless you have allergies of course). This not only tastes great, but also has the effect of restoring the acid balance in your mouth. This helps to protect the teeth from enamel erosion, and the additional saliva produced will help to flush away bacteria. Instead of a selection box of sweets, why not treat yourself to an interesting cheese board?
Emergency dental care
Hopefully, our advice will help you avoid the need for treatment. A festive period spent waiting to have a tooth filled in the new year, or even needing to see an emergency dentist is far from ideal. If a dental emergency does arise though which needs urgent treatment, please call the Synergy Clinic as usual (we recommend phoning us on 01932 856541, rather than email for this purpose). In the event that we are closed, there will be advice about what steps to take next left as a recorded message.
Finally, we hope that all of our dental patients local to Addlestone have a fantastic Christmas and a happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you all in 2019!