Taking Care Of Your Teeth Over The Christmas Holidays

Oral care is important all year round, but this time of the year can pose some special challenges!

Woman at the dentistPerhaps the forthcoming election has distracted us a little, but it won’t be long before most of us will be looking forward to Christmas as a break from work and time spent with friends and family becomes even closer.

At this time of the year, most of us let our hair down a little, with diets and exercise regimes often going out of the window, even if only for a week or two. We all deserve this of course, but some things that we might let slip could have longer term implications. This is the case if we don’t look after our teeth over the holidays, for example.

In today’s Blue Sky Dental blog, we will take a look at some of the potential pitfalls of this time of the year and how you can make sure that you come out the other side with your teeth and gums in good health.

Watch the sugar

Christmas is a time of excess, and one of the things that most of us consume in this way is sugar. Whether it be in the festive puddings or the boxes of chocolates that end up in our Christmas stockings, most of us will probably double (or more) our intake of sugar at this time of year.

We are realistic enough to know that this may not change, but we would encourage our Chelmsford patients to at least try to minimise any increase in your sugar intake. Instead of reaching for chocolates as we watch TV, try to have alternatives available. Nuts, crispy vegetable dips and small pieces of cheese make for much tooth friendlier snacks.

Smoking

This time of the year can be a real challenge for those who have stopped smoking, especially (although not exclusively) if you have stopped in the previous 12 months. A combination of peer pressure, alcohol and general bonhomie may lead us to decide to accept a nice looking cigar that is offered to us.

Whilst even one cigar or cigarette is not good for our oral health; on its own, one wouldn’t be a major problem. Although for some ex smokers, it may be a one off, for others, it may well lead to a slow journey back to becoming a smoker again. As we know, smoking is one of the major contributors towards oral health issues such as periodontitis and oral cancers. As the old saying goes ‘just say no’.

Alcohol

Letting our hair down with a few glasses of wine can be good fun, and many of us will increase our alcohol intake over the holidays. The pleasure factor should be weighed up against the potential hazards of drinking though. These include:

  • A dry mouth in the morning. This increases the number of oral bacteria and heightens the risk of gum disease
  • Oral cancers. Although a little extra alcohol shouldn’t be a problem, excessive drinking is a factor in oral cancers and it is advisable to err on the side of caution
  • Accidents and injuries. It is no secret that alcohol consumption is responsible for many accidents, whether that be a fall or even a motor vehicle accident. Just a few seconds can change our lives forever and could result in knocked out teeth if we fall, or even worse.

By all means, have fun, but do try to consume alcohol sensibly and take additional precautions such as drinking plenty of water before bedtime to avoid a dry mouth.

Your oral care

Christmas can be great fun but it can also be very tiring. Whether you are cooking the Christmas dinner or entertaining the kids, there is a pretty good chance that by the end of the day you will be feeling exhausted, and after a few relaxing drinks, probably ready for bed.

A combination of alcohol and tiredness may tempt us to get into bed without brushing our teeth, or perhaps just giving our mouth a quick swill with mouthwash. No matter how tired you are, this is not sufficient to keep your mouth healthy, especially if you do this over the whole of the holiday period. Make sure that you brush your teeth well every night (and in the morning of course) and also use dental floss to remove those sugary treats that have become stuck between your teeth.

With a little extra care and regular brushing and flossing, you should hopefully be able to enter 2020 with healthy teeth and gums.

Like other dental practices, Blue Sky Dental will be closed for certain periods of the Christmas and New Year holidays, but if you need emergency dental care at these times, please call our usual number (01245 211070) and listen to the recorded message for further advice.

To all of our Chelmsford patients, we wish you a merry Xmas and a happy New Year!

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