BATD ON Dec 01, 2014 AT 12:13 pm

White Christmas? Aim For A White Smile This Season.

White Christmas? Aim for a white smile this season.

Christmas is creeping up on us and the time to enjoy all our festive favourites is nearly here. From mulled wine to mince pies, all these delicious treats are something we all look forward to every year but we must be careful not to let our oral health suffer.

Dr Peta Leigh, from London’s award winning dental and orthodontic practice Elleven, says:

‘It is especially important that throughout Christmas festivities you make sure that you do not ditch your oral hygiene routine. The worst thing to do is forget about your teeth over the Christmas Eve-Boxing Day period as this is prime time for indulging in extra chocolates, sugary foods and alcohol, all of which can wreak havoc on your teeth. We need to make sure we are still looking after our teeth even amongst all the excitement, so make sure that you always brush your teeth at least twice a day, starting with when you wake up. After all, a few minutes won’t delay opening presents for too long!’

Here are some top tips on how to look after your teeth during the Christmas merriment:

Be mindful of mulled wine

Mulled wine around Christmas time is always a lovely treat, whether you are drinking it at Christmas markets or you have made it yourself at home, it really warms you up and tastes delicious but be careful as it is high in sugar so, can also harm your tooth enamel. Try to keep consumption to around meal times and take smaller sips, alternating with water to rinse and help prevent any damage and staining.

Always use a bottle opener

During the numerous parties you will inevitably be attending over Christmas, it is highly likely that someone will be there who decides that opening a bottle with their teeth rather than a bottle opener is a great party trick. Opening a bottle, packet of crisps or anything else with your teeth can be extremely damaging as it wears away your teeth and you are far more likely to chip a tooth. If this does happen, keep the missing tooth in milk until you can seek emergency dental work.

Suss out the sinful soft drinks

It is not just the excess alcoholic drinks that can be harmful to your teeth, be careful of the soft drinks that you are consuming too. If you are drinking a spirit and mixer, opting for a fruit juice over a fizzy mixer will be slightly kinder to your teeth. If you are drinking fizzy drinks, drink them through a straw & consider low sugar “diet” alternatives to minimize the sugar contact with your teeth which can lead to dental issues. Also, chew sugar-free chewing gum after drinks to help neutralize the acid in your mouth that damages your teeth.

The proof is in the pudding

Mince pies, Christmas Cake and Christmas Pudding are full of dried fruit which is very high in sugar and also sticks to and in between the teeth. Make sure you floss after eating to dislodge any food residue and perhaps opt for the cheese board for pudding instead. Cheese helps to return the mouth to its natural acid balance and helps reduce the chances of developing tooth decay.

Be aware of the snack attack

With endless friends and family visits you are always around nibbles and snacks, but snacking in between meals is bad for your teeth as it increases the contact that food has with your teeth so can cause plaque to develop which leads to cavities. If you need to have a snack then try to stick to crudités as the raw vegetables help to clean your teeth naturally, or some unsalted nuts as they are full of calcium and vitamin D which help to keep your teeth and gums healthy. As an extra precaution, add a daily fluoride mouth rinse before going to bed to remineralise your teeth at night.

Elleven Dental London, 11 Devonshire Place, London, W1G 6HT.

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