Tips to keep you smiling through Christmas

Christmas is fraught with more dental risks than you might think. Stay safe this silly season.

We know that not everything about Christmas is easy, and sometimes smiling can be a little forced – but while we can’t control what Uncle Barry is going to say or what gift Grandma is going to give you, this year we want your smiles to be healthy ones.

The Connect Health & Community dental team has been through many a Christmas and has tips to help keep your smile healthy all through Christmas and into the new year.

And the biggest threat to your smile this festive season is …pork crackling!

Each year after Christmas our dental team sees a high number of emergency dental patients who are suffering the after effects of a ‘crackle attack’. 

While you may enjoy the crunch of its hard texture, beware that that pork crackling has sent more people to the dental emergency room than the pork marketing board wants you to know about.  Crackling can break a tooth, dislodge fillings, break dentures, get wedged between teeth or slice gums.  So chew carefully!   

The following tips are designed to help you avoid some of the other common dental pitfalls of the silly season and help you get your new year off to a smiley start.

  1. Staying up late or being away from home can disrupt your routines but try to keep up with regular brushing twice a day. Drinking water (or rinsing your mouth) through the day can help clear acid from your mouth, but only good brushing can remove the sticky plaque build-up.
  2. Indulging in sweet treats is okay in moderation and eating sugary foods at mealtimes is less harmful, as we produce more saliva that washes away plaque.
  3. End your meal with a piece of cheese or chewing gum to return your mouth to neutral acidity, lowering the risk of tooth decay.
  4. Don’t use your teeth as tools! Your teeth are exposed to risk if you carry out tasks like ripping labels, sticky tape or opening packets when busy with wrapping presents or cooking meals. Other dangerous tasks that will definitely damage your teeth include opening bottles or cracking nuts. Just don’t do it!
  5. As tempting as it is, try to avoid sweets like candy canes, lollipops and sticky toffees that remain in your mouth for long periods. They combine with the natural bacteria in the mouth and form acids that erode tooth enamel, which leads to tooth decay.
  6. Limit your alcohol intake. Effects of drinking alcohol include stains on teeth, dry mouth, erosion of tooth enamel and even falls that can take out pearly whites. Heavy drinkers are also at higher risk of gum infections and oral cancer.  Like sugar, alcohol should be consumed in moderation.
  7. Beware the bubble. Champagne, prosecco and soft drink have high acidity and can dissolve tooth enamel.  Low-carb beers are better with their higher water content, or drink water between glasses to wash sugar and acid away from teeth and gums.
  8. Grazing or snacking is common with many tempting treats on offer – but each time you consume sugary or acidic drinks or foods, your teeth are under attack. Indulge your sweet tooth at mealtimes and stick to sugar free snacks in between.
  9. After Christmas, book yourself in for a check-up and clean so you can start the new year with a healthy smile.

Find out about Connect Health & Community’s dental services by visiting www.connecthealth.org.au/dental or call us today on 03) 9575 5333.

 

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