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We did it! We finally dragged ourselves into December 2020. Which probably means you’re preparing to throw yourself into a joyous and socially distanced festive celebration with your loved ones, friends and colleagues.
Eating and drinking will, no doubt, play a big role in your holiday fun. It may be easy to over-indulge during this time of year, but take a moment to think about the impact this will have on your oral health.
Our teeth are really susceptible to damage and wear at this time, and it’s not just because of the types of food and drink we consume, but also how much and how often we indulge. Here are a few tips for maintaining oral health during the festive period.
Avoid sugars as much as possible
Whether it’s a Quality Street® selection box, soetkoekies or another slice of Christmas fruit cake, snacking on sugar is our biggest enemy during Christmas because your mouth will be constantly exposed to acid attacks without a chance to recover.
It’s a good idea to keep sugar consumption to mealtimes, meaning you can still enjoy your favourite treats while reducing the number of times during the day that your teeth are vulnerable to sugar.
Another option is sugar-free or low-in-sugar alternatives, while cheese and nuts are also fantastic festive snack options.
Moderate alcohol intake
Data published by the World Health Organisation shows that South African consumers of alcohol are some of the heaviest drinkers globally, despite relatively high levels of abstinence in the population. And, alarmingly, the majority of South African alcohol consumers are also classified as heavy, or binge drinkers, with 59% of the drinking population consuming more than 60 grams or more of pure alcohol on at least one occasion over a 30 day period.
Most alcohol is packed full of sugar and can be extremely acidic. When consumed in large amounts it causes erosion of tooth enamel, eventually leading to pain and sensitivity. We are more likely to forget to brush our teeth after drinking heavily which leaves the sugar and acid to do its nasty work all night.
Keeping your drinking moderated and assign a few alcohol-free days during the festive break.
Keep on brushing and flossing
It is important to stick to your normal oral health routine by brushing twice a day for two minutes with a good fluoride toothpaste. The best time to do so is last thing at night and at any other time during the day.
Likewise, a dental check-up either before the holidays, or afterwards in the new year can also be a really good idea to catch any problems and make sure they don’t go unnoticed.
Drink plenty of water
It’s always a good idea to stay hydrated as an important contributor to the health of our mouth and our general health too. Drinking water directly after eating has been shown to help remove acids from the mouth, thereby reducing the effects of dental decay and erosion.
For more information, or to make a booking with our dental health team, click here.
@Health Medical Centre and its tenants do not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by the reader as a result of the information provided. For any health concerns or further information, it is always important to seek advice from your @Health Medical Centre healthcare professional.