Dental tips at Christmas

13th December 2022

Dental tips at Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas, Dartford Road Dental Centre
gave me 12 dental tips at Christmas to keep my teeth and gums healthy
and bright over the festive period!

Christmas Toothbrushing

Christmas is a magical time of the year, and we want all of our wonderful patients of Dartford and Kent to enjoy the festive season, but with Christmas also comes sweet treats, fizzy and acidic festive drinks, and lots of social grazing.

Read our top tips to keep your teeth and gums healthy this holiday season!

1) Don’t use your teeth as a tool

Using your teeth as a tool is a typical dental emergency over the Christmas period. In the excitement of the festivities, many patients rip open presents, tear off labels and cut sellotape with their teeth, resulting in a chipped or broken tooth and broken crowns and bridges. Never open a bottle with your teeth! As lovely as it is to see our patients, please reach for the bottle opener and scissors, and save yourself a trip to Dartford Road Dental Centre this Christmas.

Chrsitmas Food2) Don’t brush immediately after drinking bubbly

Brushing your teeth immediately after eating and drinking can affect your tooth enamel. Food and drinks containing citric acids, like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and acidic champagne and prosecco, can be bad for your teeth. These acidic festive treats weaken tooth enamel and brushing too soon after consumption can remove the enamel. To be safe, our Dartford dentists suggest that if you feel like you need to brush your teeth after eating or drinking, wait at least 30-60 minutes. This gives your saliva a chance to naturally wash away food particles so your mouth returns to its proper pH level. It's best to stick to drinking
water or to chew sugarless gum while waiting for this to happen.

 

3) Choose toys instead of treats

The shelves of the shops and supermarkets in Dartford, Bexleyheath and Bluewater are packed full of chocolates, candies, and sweet treats, and it is very tempting to spoil children with these affordable and easy- to-grab presents. Choose a puzzle, book or toy for them to enjoy instead. Rather than giving your little ones an advent calendar filled with sugary treats, swap it for a countdown full of fun family games, jokes, or puzzle activities.

4) Choose chocolate over sticky toffees and sweets

Chocolate is by far the best sweet treat for teeth. Chocolate easily washes off the teeth, meaning it doesn’t stick around to cause cavities or other tooth damage. Dark chocolate is the best kind of chocolate for your dental health because it contains less sugar. Sugar-free candy is the second-best treat for teeth. Sugar stimulates bacteria growth in the mouth, so avoiding excessive sugar is ideal to prevent tooth decay and maintain healthy teeth. Sugar-free sweets stimulate saliva production, which has a positive effect on dental health because it washes the mouth of bacteria and plaque that cause tooth problems.

When sweets stick to your teeth, cavities are more likely to develop. Having nuts in sweets and chocolate breaks up that stickiness, thus decreasing the chance of cavities forming. The nuts’ crunch can also help break up plaque on your teeth. Nuts contain protein and fibre, which are also great for your overall health.

 

5) Keep drinking water throughout the day

Regularly drinking water throughout the day helps to rinse food particles and bacteria from your mouth and reduce the risk of tooth decay. Choosing water rather than fizzy drinks, fruit juices and alcoholic beverages over the festive period will help to lower your overall sugar intake.

All Alcoholic drinks contain some sugar. Alcoholic drinks account for 10% of 29 to 64-year-olds in the UK’s daily intake of added sugar, and 6% for those over 65. This increases over Christmas as we tend to socialise and drink more. Many patients need to remember to factor in what they drink when calculating their daily sugar intake. Fortified wines, sherries, liqueurs, and cider are
particular causes of excessive consumption. It’s also important to consider what you’re mixing your drinks with, as carbonated drinks popular with spirits are often very high in sugar. Opt for a sugar-free or diet mixer instead.

Christmas Nuts6) Chew some cheese

Charcuterie boards and cheese trays are a UK holiday favourite, and we couldn’t agree more. Cheese makes a great snack to enjoy during the holidays, especially if you are also sipping on an alcoholic or highly acidic drink. Cheese has pH-balancing properties that help neutralise acids, and it’s full of calcium. Crackers, bread sticks, and olives are also great cheese companions as their sugar content is very low.

 

7) Beware of the buffet

Over the holidays, we often have spreads of food left out for us to constantly tuck in. Grazing all day can put your teeth at greater risk for decay. Instead of leaving out food to graze on, only put out food at mealtimes and enjoy a treat after a meal.
Turkey is a sumptuous buffet selection as it’s a source of phosphorus and protein, both of which can help your body fight tooth decay and keep your teeth strong and healthy.

 

8) Veggies the superfood

At parties, skip the trays of Christmas cookies and mince pies and instead, fill your plate with veggies.

Some fibre-rich vegetables like celery and carrots can help encourage your salivary glands to produce more saliva. In turn, bacteria and foul- smelling debris in your mouth can be washed away. Broccoli, celery, and carrots are also great snacks because they’re loaded with Vitamin A, which strengthens your enamel.

 

9) Be cautious with your drinksDental Santa

Christmas parties are a mix of excitable children (and adults too!) over- excited pets and usually a living room full of crowded friends and family. A perfect environment for an accidental dental emergency! Keep an eye on your surroundings when raising a glass or bottle to your lips, as an unexpected knock can lead to devastating dental
trauma.

Using a plastic or paper straw can prevent these accidents from happening. Drinking through a straw also decreases the contact between your drink and your front teeth. A straw causes the liquid to flow to the back of the mouth, thus avoiding contact with your front teeth. Drinking through a straw can also help prevent tooth staining when drinking coffee, red wine, and dark fruit juices. I hear you say it could be more sophisticated, but it can help prevent tooth staining and accidental knocks from a glass!

10) Don’t forget your toothbrush

If you’re going away this Christmas, don’t forget to pack your oral hygiene essentials. Your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, and any current treatments you are having, such as whitening trays and night
guards. We relax a little more during the holidays and often find ourselves snoozing in front of the TV after our big hearty Christmas dinners and buffets, but it’s imperative to continue with our oral health regime, especially before bedtime.

If you go to bed without brushing and flossing, your teeth are covered in bacteria. The bacteria will digest the foods you have been eating all day and then produce acid from their digestion. The acid is what attacks your enamel and can lead to cavities. Whilst you sleep, your body doesn’t make as much saliva, and your mouth becomes dry. This will put you at a higher risk of cavities if you go to bed without brushing.

Christmas Toothbrushing

11) Be cautious of hard foods

Hard sweets and nuts are tasty and readily available during the holidays, but they can crack your teeth if you bite down wrong. It may be better to let sweets dissolve rather than chewing them to prevent any chipping or other damage to your teeth. Hard-shelled nuts such as walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts are your typical tooth enemy, so take care when crunching these treats.

 

12) Make your new year’s resolution to book an Exam and Hygiene appointment with Dartford Road Dental Centre!

 

The Christmas holidays can throw everyone off balance, but neglecting your oral hygiene routine can have serious long-term consequences. It takes two minutes to brush twice a day thoroughly and another minute or so to floss!

Start 2023 on a positive note by making your appointments by clicking this link; Online Booking (dentalhub.online)

Register with Denplan, Simply health, to enjoy the benefits and discounts most of our patients are benefiting from by clicking this link;

Denplan | Dentist Dartford | Cosmetic Dentist Crayford (drdc.co.uk)

From all of the team at Dartford Road Dental Centre, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year!

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We are happy to help if you have any questions or concerns - get in touch today with our easy to use contact form. Our friendly team is waiting to hear from you!

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39 Dartford Rd, Dartford, Kent DA1 3EG

When to visit

We have early opening hours!
Mon - Thurs 8:15am - 5:30pm
Friday 8:15am - 1:45pm
Saturday 9:00am - 1:45pm (appointment only)

By Bus: Bus numbers 96 and 428 stop directly outside the practice.
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