Christmas is many people's favourite time of year, but it's traditionally the worst time of the year for teeth. Over-indulging in sweet treats, drinking too much alcohol and being careless can all increase the risk of having to spend some of the festive period at the dental clinic to treat a toothache or chipped tooth.
Knowing some of the common hazards of the holidays is the first step to avoiding them and making sure a dental emergency doesn't spoil your Christmas.
1. Sticky lollies
All sugar is bad for your teeth, but some snacks are worse than others. Toffee, other sticky sweets and even dried fruit can linger on the teeth for longer, increasing the chance of decay.
2. Hard candy
Candy canes are a festive staple, but one you should avoid for the sake of your teeth. Children's teeth are especially prone to being chipped or cracked when biting into something hard.
3. Coins in pudding
Not only is it unhygienic to bury a coin inside dessert, it can also give the 'lucky' recipient a nasty surprise if they discover it with their teeth!
4. Snacking between meals
Frequent snacking exposes your teeth to more acid attacks. It's less damaging to enjoy sweet treats as a dessert and sugary drinks alongside meals.
If you need more reasons to cut down on alcohol, think of what these drinks do to your teeth. Acid in white wine can wear down tooth enamel, while red wine is a notorious stainer.
6. Not drinking enough water
Sipping water alongside alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and snacks can reduce their impact on your teeth by rinsing away sugar and acids. If your local tap water contains fluoride, this is better for your teeth than bottled water.
7. Crunching ice
Ice, pencils, fingernails – biting anything that's not food is a bad habit that can chip or crack teeth or cause fillings and other dental work to come loose.
8. Opening nuts and bottles with your teeth
Nuts stimulate saliva production and are good for your teeth – but you should never use your teeth to crack them open. Even if you don't crack a tooth this time, putting teeth under so much pressure can make them easier to damage in the future.
9. Tearing sticky tape and packaging with teeth
Teeth aren't tools. If you need to trim sticky tape when wrapping presents or to open fiddly packaging, getting up to fetch the scissors will be less hassle than having to visit the dentist if you crack a tooth or dislodge a crown.
10. Improvised toothpicks
If you get something stuck between your teeth, trying to dislodge it with a sharp object could do permanent damage. Instead, gently scrape between your teeth using dental floss or an interdental brush.
11. New toys
Eager to take your new bike, skateboard or trampoline for a spin? Make sure you or your kids keep safety in mind. It's recommended that kids wear a mouthguard when taking part in any activities that could put their teeth at risk of damage.
12. Forgetting to brush
Even in the busiest times, it's important to keep up a good oral hygiene routine – especially if you're indulging in sugary treats. Twice-daily brushing and daily flossing can help your teeth to get through the festive period intact.
Need a dentist on the Gold Coast?
If you want to get a clean bill of dental health before the holidays start, or you need emergency care, get in touch with our team at Robina Town Dental.
You can find us in Robina Town Shopping Centre or call our Gold Coast dentists on 07 5575 9100.