Dental survival guide to the festive season

Ho Ho Ho. Christmas is already upon us and everyone is wrapping up the year-end work, ready for this joyful festive season. Some of you may be attending many parties whilst others might prefer relaxing by the beach. Whether it be a New Year’s Eve party or a barbecue in your backyard, I have put together a survival guide to keep your teeth, gums and your overall well-being in a healthy & happy state.

Stay hydrated

Human body is made up of approximately 75% water. If you are being active or consuming an excess amount of alcohol without drinking enough water, you are likely to get dehydrated. Getting thirsty means your mouth becomes dry increasing the risk of cavities. Drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses (each 200-250ml) of water a day is wise.

Drink alcohol with food & water

Did you know that wine, sports drinks, and many effervescent beverages have low pH, meaning they are acidic to the enamel? Acid erosion causes sensitive teeth due to the loss of enamel which protects the dentine. Consumption of alcohol with food (as opposed to sipping wine on its own) as well as drinking water afterward to rinse off the acid content will minimise acid attack on your teeth.

Eat your fruits and drink water afterward

4 servings of a variety of colours and types of fruit a day are recommended.  Whilst fruit is a good source of Vitamins and folate, many citrus fruits are acidic to the teeth. Drinking water (still water and not carbonated water) after eating fruit is a good way to wash off the acid and reduce acid erosion of the teeth.

Wear SPF lip balm

We all know to apply sunscreen to our skin but what about the lips? Oral cancer on the lips is not uncommon and usually occurs on the lower lip. Sun exposure (UV radiation causing damage to cells) is more likely on the lower lip as it faces upward. Many of my patients have had skin cancer lesions treated on the right-hand side of the face (same side as the driver’s window) which obviously has more sun exposure.

Whitening teeth

For a special occasion, what better way to get ready than to touch-up your pearly white teeth? Professionally made custom trays and whitening gel from your dentist will give you the best results safely. For good touch-up results, try whitening for at least 7 consecutive days.

Keep up your oral hygiene

Many late nights or hosting parties can be exhausting. But don’t forget to look after yourself and stick to your regular oral hygiene regime. For some of you, this might be brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. Others might also require interdental brushing aids (eg. Piksters and TePes). Using over-the-counter “sensitive” toothpaste can help in managing sensitive teeth but it is best to check in with the dentist if symptoms worsen or persist.

Cheers to our patients and friends. Wishing you a joyful & safe festive season and a Happy & Healthy New Year 2017!