Easy hints to get you through this festive season and the end of year break.
We are rapidly approaching the end of the year and the start of the holiday season. This is traditionally the time of parties, BBQs, and other get togethers where food is the focus. This is also the time that many of us are not at school or work and we have unlimited access to the fridge and pantry.
Here at Grandis Dental, we are a little dentally untraditional with our approach to Christmas Day.
We suggest selecting Christmas Day as the day where there are no rules for foods and drinks. Many dental practices would advise to limit high sugar foods drinks and snacking on Christmas Day, but we know that isn’t realistic. Instead, we suggest enjoying Christmas Day and all the treats that are on offer. You have the rest of the year to limit your intake.
Limit snacking to a restricted time limit.
Even eating very healthy snacks will leave plaque acid on the teeth. Tooth enamel that has frequent exposure to plaque acid without time to be buffered by saliva leaves this tooth enamel prone to decay. Just because you can access the pantry and fridge whenever you like, doesn’t mean you should! Limit your snacks to a certain time in the morning and afternoon, much like schools do with their breaks.
Make sure you have healthy snacks available.
Snacks don’t need to be boring or unhealthy. Cheese with crackers, yoghurt, sushi, fresh fruit, and dips with raw veggies are quick and healthy snacks that are delicious and nutritious. You’ll find that if you don’t have sugary snacks in the house, you’ll crave them less.
Give your teeth 30-60 minutes after eating before brushing.
Microscopically, the enamel’s most superficial layer will be softened by the acids of whatever food or drink you’ve consumed- even if it’s healthy! Allowing the minerals in the saliva to harden this layer of enamel for 30-60 minutes prevents you from brushing away precious tooth enamel.
Keep up water intake, especially if you are busy with physical activities.
If you are actively assembling gifts or playing with friends and family, you are likely to need more frequent hydration. Dehydration results in reduced saliva flow. Saliva is important as it washes away food and neutralizes acids that are produced by bacteria in the mouth. We advise against using sports drinks that are marketed as having a large quantity of “electrolytes” in them. These contain enormous amounts of sugar and are not what you should use to rehydrate yourself. Frequent sips of water are best.
Keep up regular brushing and flossing
This one speaks for itself! Time away from school and work doesn’t mean time off from home dental care. Keep up regular brushing and flossing because the risk of gum disease and decay don’t go on holiday!
Use bottle openers not your teeth.
Don’t use your teeth to tear open bottles, paper, tape, or string. Repeated strain will eventually result in chips and cracks. Teeth aren’t tools!
Protect your teeth while playing sports.
There are many dental injuries from games of backyard cricket and falls from bikes/scooters. Make sure children put on a helmet when riding a new bike or scooter, and pop in a Mouthguard while playing backyard cricket and footy.
Focus on activities with family- such as board games, crafting, sports activities, watching movies together, rather than only thinking of the food that is served as being the “main event”.
Work smarter, not harder.
Make sure you have floss with you if you are going out to eat. It’s very frustrating to have food remnants stuck between your teeth. If you are a patient at Grandis Dental, you probably already have one of our cute mini floss key chains. These are so handy. Alternatively, you can try little brushes between your teeth like Piksters. These are like a little bottlebrush, the size of a toothpick, and easily fit into your pocket or wallet.
Be careful when eating very hard foods, such as toffee, nuts, and crackling. If you have heavily filled teeth, the harder foods are often best avoided. Be sure to chew hard foods on your back teeth, rather than the front teeth. Anterior teeth aren’t designed to for chewing hard foods.
Make sure you have your hygiene maintenance appt booked for the new year.
These appointments give our hygienists the opportunity to smooth over older fillings or restorations to remove plaque traps and to try to extend the lifespan of older restorations by a few months or years. We know that older restorations will eventually need replacement, but we can often make restorations last a little longer with some simple maintenance carried out during a hygiene session.
Hygienists are often the first clinicians to find cracks and decay that are hidden under deposits of plaque and tartar. Early detection of cracks and decay often means shorter and cheaper restorative appointments with our dentists.