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Why is Christmas so bad for your dental health?

Christmas is creeping up on us and so is the temptation to neglect your dental health. A recent survey has shown that 1 in 5 adults in the UK are only brushing their teeth once per day. This figure increases significantly over the festive season.

The festive season is full of sweet treats and tempting drinks that are full of sugar. This can have a huge impact on your oral health and can put you at risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.

Throughout the Christmas and New Year period, neglecting your usual oral hygiene routine may lead you to need fillings, thorough cleanings or more complex dentistry treatment.

So, why are your teeth put in so much danger over the Christmas season?

Constant snacking

Wherever you go over Christmas, you are bound to be offered plenty of food by your friends and family. A mince pie here and a chocolate truffle there may not sound much. However, we tend to snack much more over Christmas than we usually would. This means that our teeth are being exposed to acidity and bacteria for longer periods during the day.

When you have eaten, it can take up to an hour for the acidity levels in your mouth to neutralise. If you are constantly snacking, you are not letting your teeth have a break from this acid and bacteria. This puts your teeth under constant attack making decay much more likely.

Sugary sweet treats

Most of the treats that we enjoy over Christmas are full of sugar. Mince pies, Christmas cake, chocolates, toffees and even fizzy pop and alcohol all contain huge amounts of sugar. When sugar surrounds the teeth, it starts to turn into bacteria which attacks the teeth.

We understand that you want to treat yourself over Christmas time – we all do. But you should be aware of how much sugar is really in those treats. Are all these sweet treats worth causing tooth decay and having to have a filling?

The most important thing we want you to remember is that it’s not the amount of sugar you consume, it’s how often you have it. For example, eating 3 mince pies in one go is far better for your teeth than eating them over several hours.

Neglecting your usual routine

It can sometimes be difficult to maintain your usual oral hygiene routine throughout the business of Christmas, especially if you are travelling to see family or friends. However, it is really important that you do all you can to make sure your oral health isn’t neglected over Christmas.

You should be brushing your teeth last thing before bed and at one other time during the day, for two minutes. It is also extremely important that you are flossing your teeth at least once a day. This makes sure that all surfaces of your teeth are being cleaned of bacteria and food particles. Setting alarms on your mobile phone can really help to make sure you are still looking after your teeth.

Using your teeth as tools

As dentists, we see so many patients that have broken their teeth over the festive period from using them as tools. It may be your party trick to open a bottle of beer or crack open a nut with your teeth, but it won’t be much fun when you crack, chip or break your teeth. You can even destroy existing dental work such as fillings, crowns and veneers. Avoid tearing sellotape, breaking off tags and opening packaging with your teeth too.

At Oak Mount Dental Practice, we always recommend that our patients book a check-up appointment with us either just before, or just after Christmas. This will let us take a good look over your teeth for any potential problems before they get worse.

Call us on 0161 445 1211 to book an appointment.

Posted by Oak Mount Dental Practice

Website last updated: June 2022

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