Christmas and Healthy Teeth

Health tips | 14 Dec 2021

On the 12th day of Christmas my dentist gave to me…A great guide to a healthy festive period (for the adults)

This period of time can be a very tough time for your gums and teeth but don’t worry, the expert team at The Neem Tree are on hand to help your teeth through this period. We know that we need to take extra care of the little ones and their teeth right now but don’t forget your teeth and oral health is just as important! 

We have our own 12 days of Christmas tips so you can enjoy your Christmas without worrying about any looming dental appointments you may have or need in the new year. 

Let’s Begin… 

Day 1: Beware of the ‘prosecco smile’ – Do not brush after bubbly 

After your last drink, it is important for you to wait a few hours before you brush your teeth especially after highly acidic drinks like prosecco. This is because the acid in these types of drinks softens the enamel and therefore can actually be damaged during brushing. Waiting a few hours after you have had your last drink will allow the enamel to harden. This rule applies to all acidic foods and drinks. 

Make sure to brush your teeth before bed. Don’t forget your regular routine. We know how easy it is to forget or skip your evening routine after a few drinks but you need to ensure that your teeth get a good clean after consuming alcohol so you remove any harmful bacteria that is lingering and you are able to restore your mouth’s natural defences. 

Day 2: The curse of the advent calendars

Advent calendars add to the festive spirit, but they promote eating more sugary treats daily on top of the (understandable) extra that you may already be consuming. However, there are other options to the chocolate and sweet advent calendars we all know and love. There are many different options for calendars these days, you have Chanel and Dior advent calendars, while you also can get beauty, toy and cheese advent calendars. Why not switch it up this year and get yourself and the little ones a different and arguably, more fun advent calendar this year?

Day 3: Tip 3: Don’t use your teeth as tools 

Using your teeth as tools is a common cause of many dental emergencies, especially over the festive period. Cutting tape, ripping open presents or tearing off labels with your teeth may save you a bit of time from finding scissors but it may also lead to chipping or breaking a tooth. Is it worth it? Probably not. 

Day 4: Dark chocolate > sticky toffee 

Let’s be realistic, we cannot ban sugary treats over Christmas, that would just be criminal! However, you can be strategic and minimise the risk to your teeth by avoiding certain treats. You should avoid hard candies that allow sugar to stay in your mouth for too long and could potentially crack your teeth. You should also avoid sticky sweets and toffees that stay in your mouth for an extended period of time. 

Day 5: Drink, drink, drink… water

This is a very busy season, so it often disrupts our regular routine including forgetting to drink water throughout the day. It is so important for both your regular health and your oral health to stay hydrated throughout the day. Regularly drinking water throughout the day rinses food particles and bacteria from your mouth and also reduces the risk of tooth decay.

Day 6: Limit your fizzy drinks 

Just like champagne and Prosecco, fizzy drinks are highlighly acidic and tend to have very high sugar contents and just like Prosecco, soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Fanta can lead to enamel erosion.

If you can’t resist the temptation, a great way to minimise the amount of contact your teeth have with fizzy drinks and minimise the damage, is by drinking through a straw.

Day 7: Don’t forget your regular routine

As we have mentioned, Christmas throws everyone off balance a little bit but, neglecting your oral hygiene routine is something you cannot afford to do as it can have some serious long-term consequences. You only need to take four minutes out of your day to brush your teeth.

Two minutes in the morning and two minutes right before bed, that sounds doable right? Oh yeah, remember to maybe take another minute to floss as well. A great, healthy 5 minutes a day!

Day 8: More turkey!!

Turkey is actually one of the more healthier festive foods for our teeth. This is because the protein in turkey helps strengthen teeth and bones. So you have our permission, go ahead and tuck in! 

Day 9: Make This a smoke-free Christmas 

Christmas is the best time, filled with laughter, music, presents, family and joy. It can also be a very stressful time as it’s not only the most wonderful time of year, it is also the most busiest time of year. If you have the urge to smoke this Christmas, we urge you to resist the temptation and invest in some patches or gum that helps you resist the urge.

We congratulate you if you manage to quit smoking during Stoptober, we hope you carry on and stay strong during this tempting season. 

Smoking can cause a range of complications throughout your whole body, including your mouth. Last year 8302 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer in the UK alone. 1 in 6 mouth cancers are directly caused by smoking. 

If you want to help a friend or loved one to stop smoking, why not get them some patches or gum to help them stop for good this Christmas!

Day 10: Chocolate and snacking – Limit grazing 

What’s Christmas without a selection of sweets, treats and snacks? 

What’s so sneaky about christmas treats is that when they are bitesize you don’t realise how bad they actually are. However, in fact, snacking between meals can be extremely damaging to your oral health.

Snacking between meals is also known as grazing. It is reported that 82% of adults snack between meals which is bound to increase even higher over the festive season. 

So, why is grazing/snacking such a problem?

Every time we eat or drink, acids are produced in the mouth. The acid remains active in the mouth for an average of 20 minutes before it returns to a normal state. The acid is produced to help break down food particles. Grazing means that your mouth becomes more acidic resulting in tooth erosion and further decay. 

Simply: the more often you eat, the more time acid has to erode the teeth in your mouth. We understand that you want to enjoy your indulge this christmas and treat yourself but there are a few things you can do to look after your teeth a little more during this time.
Here are a few tips: 

  1. Make a schedule, limit yourself, discipline!
    Sometimes it’s hard not to snack so why not choose certain days in the week where you get to enjoy snacking and grazing while on other days you resist.
  2. The cheese board
    We are usually always telling you what to avoid, well now we are saying tuck into the cheese board! We’ve definitely spoken about the many benefits of cheese so if you feel the urge to snack on chocolates, swap them out for some cheese. It tastes great, will fulfil your cravings and is less harmful for your teeth.
    Cheese is actually great at reducing the acid levels in your mouth and clearing other food particles as cheese stimulates saliva production.
  3. Time your snacking
    Enjoy your snacks after your main meals. The best time to snack would be right after lunch and dinner rather than in between meals. 

Day 11: Ask for a new toothbrush this Christmas

As we get older, our Christmas lists tend to evolve with us, they are not the same thing they used to be. Let’s be honest, our lists usually consist of necessities rather than hot new toys like they used to. What is probably a necessity to you right now is most probably a new toothbrush. 

Did you know you should change your toothbrush around every 3 months

This rule primarily applies to electric toothbrushes, (you only need to change the head of the toothbrush) which we recommend every adult to have. Not only will your toothbrush be less effective after three months, it is likely to harbour a range of germs and bacteria. Love your smile and get a new toothbrush this Christmas!

Day 12: Make a check up appointment 

Be sure to end 2021 on a positive note by making a routine dental and hygienist appointment at The Neem Tree to keep your teeth and gums in the best condition they can be so you can start 2022 with a white shining smile. 

Merry Christmas From Everyone at The Neem Tree 

We know that us dentists often sound like Christmas grinches trying to steal all your festive fun but our team wants you to have an amazing Christmas and a very happy new year! 

Remember to look after your teeth this Christmas, enjoy all this festive period has to offer you and when you do indulge a little bit too much or go a litter over the top, just be sure to stick to your routine and clean your teeth twice a day. 

Give a loved one or yourself and your teeth the best gifts this Christmas and book in for a consultation at The Neem Tree.