We’re all guilty of letting our usual positive habits and good intentions go to pot at least a little over Christmas. After all, it’s the season of all things indulgent and carefree. If there’s one time of year you can get away with getting somewhat carriedaway, this is it!
The problem being that these days, the festive season is becoming longer by the year. Rather than simply celebrating from say Christmas Day to Boxing Day, we tend to get swept away by all-things seasonal for a good month or so. All of which plays right into the hands of big business, but doesn’t necessarily work wonders for our health.
Enjoyable it may be, but six weeks of seasonal splurging every year can take its toll.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s really nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence. In fact, it can be good for your physical and psychological health alike. It’s just that when things are taken to extremes – particularly over prolonged periods – you could be looking at rather unfortunate effects.
For obvious reasons, dental health has a habit of taking a pounding over Christmas. With the sheer volume of sugary treats and naughty nibbles doing the rounds, willpower is essentially futile. Hence, this is the time of year when dentists recommend a somewhat more thoughtful, proactive approach among those looking to start the year with a strong and healthy smile.
Particularly if you’ve gone the whole hog and whitened your teethfor Christmas, it simply makes sense to take care of your investment. So with this in mind, what follows is a brief look at safe and simple yet essential tips for healthier teeth over the festive season.
None of which need put a dampener on your enjoyment of all-things Christmassy:
Step Up Your Daily Regime
Perhaps most importantly of all, it’s a good idea to focus additional time and attention on your daily oral hygiene regime. Instead of simply throwing a brush around your mouth for a random amount of time, ensure you give your mouth the full two-minute treatment twice a day. In addition, step up to a dentist recommended mouthwash, premium toothpaste and stop making excuses as far as flossing goes. You could also benefit by adding a third daily brushing to your regime – particularly on days you intend to indulge.
Use Mouthwash Regularly
Speaking about mouthwash, this simple yet effective daily product could be your ticket to healthier teeth over the Christmas period. Brushing teeth aggressively or too often can do more harm than good. By contrast, a gentle yet effective mouthwash can be used throughout the day, in order to keep your mouth free from harmful debris and bacteria. It’s simply a case of investing in a couple of extra bottles of the stuff, reaching for a good rinse after eating or drinking. Particularly when gorging on sugary sweets and drinks, a quick swig of mouthwash at the right time really can make all the difference. If planning to use it on a regular basis, consider a gentle mouthwash with little or no alcohol in its formulation.
Keep Some Gum Close to Hand
The same also applies to sugar-free chewing gum, which can be enormously useful over the festive period. Dentists worldwide recommend chewing gum as a great way of neutralising harmful acids in the mouth after eating or drinking. Not only this, chewing gum can also be surprisingly effective in preventing the teeth from becoming stained. As such, if you are looking to hold onto your gleaming white smile in the New Year, now’s the time to get into the habit of chewing gum. Plus you’re considerably lesslikely to indulge in the first place with a minty mouth!
Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools
One of the most important dental health rules of the season – never use your teeth as tools. Dentists worldwide share a collective grimace at the thought of their patients using their teeth where they should actually be using scissors, knives and so on. Wrapping presents, decorating the home, preparing Christmas dinner and so on – all instances where you’ll find yourself instinctively using your teeth for things they weren’t designed for. Opening packets, biting off strips of tape, cutting string etc. – some of the most common causes of broken and chipped teeth over Christmas. Your teeth were designed to assist with eating…not to be used as tools!
Beware Heavy Staining Foods
Along with excessive amounts of sugar, Christmas is also the time of year you’re most likely to indulge in heavy-staining foods. Two examples of which include coffee and red wine, which stand to do a number on your pearly-whites. Limiting consumption of heavy-staining foods and drinks is the best way to go, but you can also turn to mouthwash and chewing gum for damage-limitation purposes. Or if you really want to go to extremes, use a straw when drinking anything with the capacity to stain your teeth.
Indulge in Short Bursts
Interestingly, many dentists across the UK actually recommendbinge eating at Christmas. Generally speaking, gorging on unhealthy snacks and treats in vast quantities is not a good idea. When it comes to oral health and hygiene however, limiting exposure to a shorter period of time can be beneficial. If you eat a large bar of chocolate in the space of five hours, that’s five hours during which your teeth are taking a pounding. By contrast, eat the same bar of chocolate in just 30 minutes followed by a quick swig of mouthwash and you’re talking significantly less harm. You might make yourself a little queasy in the process, but your teeth at least will thank you!
Treat Yourself to a New Toy
Last but not least, there’s no better time of year to justify treating yourself to a new toy or two. If you don’t already have the latest Bluetooth electric toothbrushand powered water-flosser, why not grab yourself an early Christmas present? Along with being far easier and more enjoyable to use, you’ll be looking at a cleaner, fresher and healthier mouth – whatever kind of punishment you expose it to!