As a provider of emergency dental services in Perth, we see a lot of patterns. One of the most predictable patterns is that a lot of people end up having dental emergencies over the holidays. As a public service, we would like to tell you how to put the odds in your favour to have a safe, emergency-free holiday season.
Moderate Desserts and Treats
It’s no secret that one of the best parts of the holidays is all of the sugary treats offered by friends and relatives at home, parties and work. Candy canes are one of the worst treats for your teeth because the sugar and the resulting acids stick to your teeth long after you have finished eating them. It takes a long time to eat a candy cane. This is not in your favour.
Also, if you eat Christmas pudding, the dried fruits are a problem because they have more sugar than you realise and they stick to your teeth. The bottom line is that you need to be careful about how much sugar you are eating. At the very least, rinse your mouth out after every sugary treat.
Moderate Your Christmas Drinks
If you tend to drink more alcohol to celebrate the holidays, remember that wine, champagne and sweet mixed drinks have a lot of sugar in them. Juices are also bad. Egg nog has a lot of sugar, too.
There are three ways that alcoholic beverages can harm your teeth. The first, which we have documented, is sugar. The second is acids that are the byproduct of both sugar and alcohol. The third is dehydration. When you are dehydrated, you don’t make as much saliva. Saliva helps fight off the sugar and the acids.
At the very least, rinse your mouth and drink plenty of water.
We explained above how dehydration can affect your teeth. If you are outside in the summer, you need to drink extra water to keep hydrated. Also, sports drinks can harm your teeth due to their excessively high sugar content.
Don’t Brush Right Away
When you have Christmas treats or drink sports drinks, the acids can weaken your tooth enamel. You shouldn’t brush your teeth until an hour after eating sugar. Rinse immediately, but wait an hour to brush.
Don’t Chew Ice
We know it’s hot in the summer. But that doesn’t make chewing ice any less healthy for your teeth. Chewing ice can actually cause microfractures or full breaks in your teeth. Ice is dangerous for your teeth because it has a high compressive strength. A lot of teeth can’t handle it without breaking.
Use a Bottle Opener
A lot of people think it’s “cool” to open a cold beverage with their teeth. This is right up there with fighting as the most common causes of broken or chipped teeth. Use a bottle opener and leave the showing off to people who have less respect for their teeth and their appearance than you do.
Keep Up with Oral Hygiene
We know the holidays can be hectic, but don’t let them keep you from your normal dental hygiene routine. Keep brushing and keep flossing. If anything, brush more, use mouthwash and rinse more. The holidays are not the time to let your dental habits slide.
Fix Problem Areas Before the Holidays
If you have dental problems, fix them now, before the holidays start. Call it “Murphy’s Law” or just bad luck, but unresolved issues seem to become full-blown problems just in time for the holidays. This could also be related to failure to do as we recommend above.
Preventative Dentistry or Emergency Dental Services?
We advocate a solid program of regular dental visits and sound dental hygiene as a way of preventing dental emergencies at any time of the year. If you want to reduce the chance of a dental emergency ruining your holidays, call us for an appointment. We will be happy to take care of you before your problems become emergencies.