12 Tips for a Healthy Christmas

12 days of christmas tips

Health tips | 15 Dec 2020

12 Days of Christmas Tips!

Christmas is just around the corner, and although we will all be spending Christmas a little differently this year, your Christmas may still consist of a lot of indulgent treats and rich food. After the year we have all had, we deserve those treats and tasty snacks, but remember to indulge in all the best things about Christmas in moderation. 

While many people worry the most about gaining weight this time of year, we urge you to remember your teeth too. Excess sugar consumption can increase your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Here are our top 12 tips you can do to look after your oral health this Christmas. 

1: Brush your teeth after every meal

This is the number one tip for every season. The longer sugar remains on your teeth, the more damage it will cause. Keep a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste on hand at all times! We’re all likely to be spending this holiday season in the comfort of our own homes which may make keeping up with your oral routine a little easier this year. 

2: Don’t brush after bubbly 

Many people think that brushing straight after sugary drinks is the best thing to do, but while both sugary and acidic drinks such as sparkling wine are undoubtedly harmful to your tooth enamel, it is important to wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth to minimise the damage. The same rule applies to all acidic food and drinks. 

Also remember that most people don’t brush for the optimal two minutes that you are supposed to, don’t be one of those people! Why not hum a few verses of your favourite holiday songs while you clean your teeth? Then you’re definitely likely to hit the target!

3: Choose Toys Instead of Treats

Rather than giving your kids an advent calendar filled with sugary treats and opting to give sweets and chocolates as gifts, swap it for a countdown full of fun family games, jokes, or puzzle activities. Activities such as colouring books will keep the little ones just as entertained as chocolate will. 

4: Drink Water

Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day to rinse food particles and bacteria from your mouth and reduce the risk of tooth decay. With so many sugary treats and dessert options this season, try to choose water over sugary soft drinks or juices. Swapping out these acidic and sugar drinks while indulging in other festive treats will help you indulge while also lowering your overall sugar intake. 

5: Everything in moderation 

Christmas is a time of tasty treats and many indulgent foods. Many of these treats, foods and drinks that we consume over the festive period can be detrimental for our oral health. That being said, you can still enjoy all the treats and foods that come with celebrating Christmas, as long as you enjoy everything in moderation. 

It is important to be aware of the sugar content in the food and drinks you are consuming as they can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Take Prosecco for example, Christmas would not be complete without the sparkling treat that is prosecco, but it is important to know, it really packs a punch to your oral health. Drinks such as Prosecco, fruit juice and soft drinks are a couple of the most dentally damaging drinks if consumed frequently due to their high sugar, acidity and alcohol levels. As long as you drink in moderation and keep up with your dental routine, you will be fine. 

6: Your Teeth Are Not Tools

Using teeth as tools is a common cause of many dental emergencies over the festive period. 

Makeshift toothpicks: Nothing is more annoying than not being able to reach something that is stuck in your teeth, however, using anything you can find such as a fork or anything that is not dental floss or an interdental brush can be more harmful to your teeth than you know. It can be helpful to try and soften the object by swishing warm water around your mouth. 

Cracking nuts: Cracking nuts is another culprit. We see many patients who have thought cracking nuts with their teeth is harmless, only to end up shattering a molar in the process. Always use nutcrackers, your teeth are not suitable options for cracking nuts.

Opening bottles with teeth: Never open bottles with your teeth! It may seem like a harmless idea at the time, but it can cause some serious dental damage. Always have a bottle opener close by so no one is tempted this Christmas season or any other time of the year to resort to opening bottles with their teeth. 

Don’t cut tape with your teeth: We have all been there, it’s late on Christmas Eve and you have left wrapping presents until the last minute. While you are hastily trying to keep the roll of paper steady with one hand and frantically ripping strips of tape with your teeth. You put an enormous amount of pressure on the edges of your teeth when you attempt to cut sticky tape with your teeth. Doing this continuously while wrapping and opening gifts this month is an easy way to crack and weaken your teeth. You can even dislodge a crown or veneer if you’re not careful. Use scissors, your teeth are not meant to be used as tools! 

7: Take More Turkey

Out of all the festive foods we all aim to consume this year, Turkey is actually one of the more healthier ones for our teeth. The protein in Turkey contains Phosphorus, which helps to strengthen our teeth and bones. So go on, tuck in!

8: Choose Dark Chocolate Instead 

Let’s be realistic, banning sweet treats over the Christmas holidays simply will not work. But, you can minimise the risk to your teeth by avoiding some treats that are especially bad for your teeth. Try avoiding hard candies, lollipops or sticky sweets that can crack teeth and stay in your mouth for extended periods of time. Opting for dark chocolate over sticky toffee or milk and white chocolate is a great alternative with better benefits. 

9: Ice! 

While blenders are ideal for crushing the ice in your Christmas cocktails, your teeth are not. Chewing on ice could damage healthy tooth enamel and even could break teeth, especially if you have any fillings, crowns or bridges. For those with sensitive teeth, the cold temperature can also worsen dental pain. 

10: Don’t Forget Your Regular Routine

Christmas is a busy time for all of us, there are already limitless jobs to get done in the run up to the big day which only makes brushing seem like an even bigger chore dropping down even lower on the priorities list. We all tend to let a few things go this time of year but one thing that cannot be forgotten is brushing our teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time, even if you have had a few too many glasses of wine one night! If you get into the habit of not brushing your teeth regularly over this festive season, you could put your teeth and gums at increased risk of developing problems. Let’s end 2020 and start 2021 strong with the best oral health possible! 

The holidays can throw everyone off balance but neglecting your oral hygiene routine can have serious long-term consequences, it can be helpful to brush your teeth as soon as you wake up, before you do anything else, in order to avoid forgetting. It only takes two minutes to brush thoroughly twice a day and another minute or so to floss! 

11: Grazing

With so many delicious foods and treats at your fingertips, it’s easy to find yourself continuously grazing the delicious food over the festive days. However, exposing your teeth to continuous sugar throughout the day can contribute heavily to tooth decay. Every time you eat something sugary, the bacteria in our mouths are producing acids that can ultimately cause tooth decay. Therefore, if you are continually snacking, your teeth will be under constant attack. 

It’s a better idea to polish off all the turkey and chocolates all in one sitting as part of a meal rather than snacking on and off throughout the day. If you find yourself snacking, try to choose tooth-friendly options such as cheese or raw veggies.

12: Make an Appointment 

It is important to visit your dentist for a checkup, especially after the last couple of months of Halloween and now Christmas, two very big holidays consisting of sugary treats. Your dentist or hygienist can remove any plaque that has built up on your teeth, particularly in any hard to reach areas. 

If you are looking to treat yourself this Christmas, give us a call and we can talk to you about teeth whitening treatments we have available that can remove stains built up by tea, coffee, wine and smoking. It is the perfect way to boost your smile right in time for Christmas. 

On the 12th day of Christmas my dentist gave to me… 12 amazing tips to help with my oral routine! 

With the festive season now in full swing, although this is not the type of Christmas we all hoped for, it is the time to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Remember to give your oral health a little more care and attention which is all your teeth want for Christmas. From everyone at The Neem Tree, have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! 

The Neem Tree is doing as much as we can to stay open and available to you for all your dental needs. Whether it’s an emergency appointment or a regular check up, our dental practices will be open on the 24th, 27th 29th, 30th and 31st December. Our practices will continue to operate in the safest way possible with all our staff fully equipped with PPE. If you have a dental emergency or need to book an appointment, call us on any of the dates listed above from 9am and we will be happy to help you.