By Dr Nauv Kashyap.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Yes that special time of year is less than two weeks away and of course everyone must be franticly finalising their Christmas shopping, planning their holidays and decorating their homes. Well while you are filling stockings with candy canes and looking up recipes for Christmas puddings….bear in mind that you may be eating and drinking a lot MORE than usual at this time of year and you can therefore put yourself at risk of damaging your teeth if you’re not taking care of them over this period. The last thing you would want is a dental emergency over the festive period!!

So to help you avoid any dental pain this Christmas, here are some tips on foods that are ‘tooth friendly’ and others that should be eaten in moderation only! Also some advice on what to do if you do damage a tooth!

Some Tooth Friendly Foods:

1. Cheese and milk – these are rich in calcium which promotes health teeth!
2. Nuts – unsalted peanuts contain calcium and vitamin D which are both vital for oral health, walnuts are often used in puddings and cakes and they contain zinc, folic acid, iron, potassium which all play an important role in keeping our teeth and gums healthy.
3. Vegetables – brocolli and carrots and other vegetables containing vitamin A will help strengthen tooth enamel.
4. Fruits – firm crunchy fruits such as apples and pears have a high water content and dilute the effects of the sugars they contain, they also stimulate the flow of saliva which helps protect against decay.
5. Turkey – turkey and also chicken and other meats provide a great source of pretein and contain phosphorus which is needed to remineralise teeth (a natural process where minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids).
6. Sugarless gum – chewing gum without sugar is actually beneficial to your teeth as the chewing helps dislodge food that becomes stuck to your teeth and also increases saliva flow to neutralize mouth acids.

Foods to avoid or eat in moderation:

1. Sweets, candies and cakes – yes the chocolate and puddings are so tempting however try to keep them to a minimum as sugars are the prime cause of dental decay by coating the teeth with sugar and providing a fuel source for bacteria.
2. Fizzy drinks – these are also loaded with sugar and even sugar-free drinks are often acidic and in excess they can cause tooth enamel to erode away. But if you can’t resist them then using a straw will lessen the direct contact with your teeth! The best beverage choices are water, milk and unsweetened tea.
3. Processed cereals – again, these are filled with sugar and it is much better to opt for porridge of bran based cereals or eggs!
4. Crisps – yes those potato chips that come in many different flavors and brands that you nibble on all day, they are made of cooked starch and this breaks down into sugar. Try low GI crisps instead such as vegetable crisps.
5. Wine – well who doesn’t love a glass of wine at christmas?? Wine is very acidic and it can cause enamel erosion. Red wine can also increase the risk of staining, so don’t forget to brush your teeth as often as you should!

What to do if you experience any dental problems during the festive period??

1. If you have knocked out a tooth – call your dentist immediately and book an emergency appointment! Our surgery will be open every day except for Christmas day so feel free to contact us. Contacting us within an hour of the incident will have the best chances for your tooth to survive the trauma. Gently rinse the tooth in water, store it in milk or salty saline solution and bring it with you.
3. If you have chipped a tooth – rinse your mouth in warm water and use an ice pack to reduce any swelling. Take nurofen (not aspirin) for pain. Book an appointment with your dentist at the next most convenient time depending on how much pain your in.
4. If you have any other emergency dental issues or concerns during the festive period – call our clinic and we will assist to the best of our ability to arrange for an emergency appointment as soon as possible.

Don’t forget throughout the festive season:

1. Brush your teeth regularly at least twice a day.
2. Use fluoride containing toothpaste
3. Floss at least once a day

A very MERRY CHRISTMAS and happy holidays from our team here at Raceview Dental Surgery!

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