Follow our top 5 oral health tips and enjoy the holidays fully without compromising your white, bright smile or the health of your teeth and gums.
1. Never use your teeth as a tool.
Don't use your teeth to open presents, bottles, food packages and other similar activities. With time, this will weaken the enamel and the more fragile edges of your teeth, leading to cracking and breakage.
Plus, to handle all the delicious Christmas nuts, you need a nutcracker, not your teeth. Always shell nuts before snacking on them. The hard surface of most nutshells can cause severe tooth and gum damage, and may even crack teeth.
2. Avoid over doing it with the sweets.
It's the most wonderful time of year for candy canes, popcorn balls, cookies and dried fruits - and this nonstop buffet of sweets can wreak havoc on your teeth.
Sugary food and drinks activate the bacteria that live in our mouths. These bacteria feed off the sugar and produce acids that harm teeth.
Sticky foods (like some dried fruit) tend to stay on the teeth longer than other types of food.
Hard candies can especially put your teeth at risk because, in addition to being full of sugar, they’ve also been known to cause broken or chipped teeth.
Bonus tip: Together with your Christmas favourites, make sure there’s a veggie tray with crunchy carrots, celery and broccoli on Christmas table. The natural crunch can help clean teeth in between sugar cookies.
3. Drink plenty of water.
The water acts to neutralise the acids in your mouth after indulging in the sweet. Plus, if you choose to drink alcohol, try to drink water alongside your drinks.
4. Keep a routine.
The holidays can change your regular schedule, but you should still brush at least two times a day for two minutes and floss. By the way, why don’t you schedule a post-holiday checkup & cleaning with your Metro dentist and start the new year with clean, bright and cavity-free teeth?
5. Watch the red wine.
If you like a nice red, be mindful that the strong pigments in red wine are instant stain-makers for porous surfaces like your teeth. This doesn't mean you have to avoid red wine during the holiday season.
There's a lot you can do to lessen staining in the short term and ensure a white smile for life:
✔️Brush and Floss before Pouring a Glass - Stains cling to the film of plaque on your teeth, so a thorough brushing and flossing before heading into your holiday event calendar is an excellent personal rule to uphold. By properly removing new plaque and food residue from your teeth before an indulgent meal, you can minimise your chances of staining. Cleaning your teeth on this type of schedule also cuts down on your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
✔️Rinse Your Mouth Out Afterward - To help prevent red wine from lingering on your teeth, take a swig of water, which is generally a good habit while consuming any type of alcohol to keep you hydrated. You may think it makes sense to brush the wine off your teeth, as well, but enamel is actually more sensitive right after a meal. You should wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to prevent this damage and let your enamel re-calcify.
✔️Eat as you Drink - Consider noshing on cheese and crackers as you drink; this food can act as a barrier to the acid in red wine. Go with particularly fibrous foods that are low in sugar, such as broccoli, celery or hard cheeses – all of which can stimulate saliva flow and naturally scrub away drink stains.