With so much to think about over the holidays, a visit to the emergency dental clinic probably isn't a distraction you need. However, the festive period is typically when teeth are most prone to decay and accidents.
Accidents can always happen, but by taking care when choosing food and drink and planning activities, you can help to protect your family from the hazards of the season. Here's how to avoid some of the main dangers.
Candy canes, nuts, pork crackling, cherries with pips – some favourite festive foods can be a nightmare for your teeth. If something's too hard to bite into without discomfort, consider whether it's really worth the risk of a chipped or cracked tooth and needing to visit an emergency dentist.
If you do want to enjoy hard foods, taking small bites will lower the risk of accidents. However, you should always avoid biting anything that isn't food – that includes trying to open nuts or beer bottles with your teeth.
Another category that can cause havoc for people with dental restorations is overly sticky foods. If you have any fillings, crowns, veneers or other dental work, sticky toffees and dried fruits could take them clean off and require a quick fix from your dentist.
Sticky foods also increase the risk of tooth decay, as they're less likely to be rinsed off by water and saliva and may even resist teeth brushing.
Sugar in food and drink contributes to tooth decay by feeding bacteria in plaque, a sticky film that builds up on the teeth. While a little sugar is healthy and provides energy, most Australians consume more than the recommended amount, especially over the holidays.
Sugar isn't only a concern in snacks and desserts, but also in soft drinks and fruit juices. These have the extra hazard of being very acidic, which weakens tooth enamel. You can reduce this effect by drinking water alongside soft drinks and alcohol or by drinking through a straw to minimise contact with your teeth.
Time off work means more time to enjoy the summer, but make sure you and your family are protected.
Custom mouthguards are recommended by health authorities to offer the best protection for teeth against impacts and shocks during contact sports. They can also be useful if kids are using the new bike, scooter or skateboard they got for Christmas, especially if they're learning to ride for the first time.
However busy the holidays get, don't fall out of good oral hygiene habits. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss every day, drink plenty of water (especially fluoridated tap water) and follow a balanced diet, and you'll lower your risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems.
If you're consuming a lot of sugar, it's a good idea to brush more often during the day – but you shouldn't brush directly after eating or drinking, as this can damage your teeth. Wait at least an hour and rinse your mouth with water in the meantime.
If it's time for your regular check-up, or you want to check something with a dentist, contact our friendly team at Sydney CBD Dental.
Call (02) 9232 3900 to schedule an appointment at a time that works for you or book online.