It’s the silly season and let’s be honest, we tend to do some silly things around this time of year, including wrecking our teeth in various ways.
Below we lay down 10 ways in which you could be ruining your pearly whites this Christmas. You’ve been warned!
A drink or two…. or three…. or four!
Christmas parties galore, drinks galore = not so great for your teeth! Not exactly what you want to think about when you’re in the Christmas spirit, but what is all this Christmas boozing to your teeth? Quite a bit actually. Firstly, bacteria in your mouth lives on sugar, so sipping on sweet alcoholic drinks offers that bacteria plenty of fuel to thrive. Secondly, most alcoholic drinks are also extremely acidic, with sparkling beverages at least as acidic as orange juice. As a rule, dry, sparkling wines are the worst of all alcoholic drinks, as the bubbles in them are caused by carbon dioxide, which is acidic. You’d be better picking a less acidic, flat wine over prosecco or champagne. And thirdly, alcohol dehydrates your body, reducing your saliva.
Sweet food, and lots of food…
It’s easy to overindulge around Christmas. There’s parties, shared lunches, long lunches, BBQs with friends….and that’s all before Christmas Day when we stuff ourselves with food glorious food! And then of course there’s he sweet stuff – chocolate, Christmas baking, pavlova – any exposure of sugar will increase your risk of dental caries, so limit sweets and puddings (including sugary drinks) to meal times and try to stick to your regular dental routine to counteract the damage.
Are your stress levels up high? Let’s be honest, it takes a special kind of person not to be affected by the craziness of this time of year. Stress not only affects your whole body, but the health of your mouth too – think canker sores, teeth grinding (bruxism), jaw clenching and a dry mouth, all of which can cause some serious oral health issues.
It may sound obvious, but cracking nuts with your teeth is a bad idea. Always use nutcrackers.
Late nights? Tough mornings? Don’t forget your dental routine!
Christmas is the time when we get out of routine, forget our good habits and learn some bad ones. It’s great to relax, let your hair down and enjoy this time of year, but don’t neglect your teeth and health. Be kind to yourself, your mind and body will be thankful for it.
Pain? Make an appointment before Christmas!
Got a tooth ache or a sore gum? Get that checked out before the Christmas craziness. Any issues with your teeth are going to be exacerbated by the extra food and alcohol you’ll be consuming. Get them seen to before the festivities begin.
With so many delicious treats on tap at this time of the year, try to go for the healthier snack options. Go for nuts or vege sticks rather than chips or crackers. Nuts have calcium and vitamin D which are great for teeth. If you’re snacking while drinking alcohol, munch on some cheese. It’s a rich source of calcium as well as being a great way to counter the effects of acid as it helps kill bacteria by balancing the PH in your mouth. Did you know snacking is a major cause of tooth decay? Every time we have something sugary, bacteria in our mouths produce acids that can cause tooth decay. If you’re continually snacking, your teeth will be under constant attack.
Teeth as a tool?
Are you using your teeth as a tool? Opening that bottle of beer, or ripping that tape with your teeth? These habits can cause teeth or chip or crack. Use scissors and other everyday tools to accomplish these tasks, or you may need to gift yourself a root canal, dental implant or some new veneers for Christmas!
Munching on ice cubes?
Ice cubes are for cocktails, not for chewing on. Did you know chewing on ice is one of the worst things you can do for your teeth? Firstly, chewing ice can damage your teeth enamel. Yes, it’s the strongest substance in the human body, however ice can damage it. Once damaged, it can leave a tooth more vulnerable to acid attacks and tooth decay. Chewing ice can also crack or chip your teeth and damage fillings.
A bit of over-excitement or perhaps a bit of over-drinking may result in a bit of a lack in judgement and taa daa – dental emergency – think broken teeth, knocked out teeth or any other trauma to the mouth. If you have a dental emergency, see you dentist as soon as you can.