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Growing Smiles News December 2014

Smiles for Christmas 2014

Christmas is a busy time with extra long ‘to do’ lists, travel, parties and all that comes with the festive season. Family and friend’s presence (or absence) can add another stressful dimension to this time of year. Spare a thought for your mouth as festive eating and drinking could be putting your mouth at risk. Constant snacking, drinking and eating sugary foods and drinks over Christmas can make the holiday period a miserable time for teeth.

Sugar-filled mince pies, chocolate selection boxes, fizzy drinks and acidic alcoholic drinks are all likely to pose a hazard to teeth during the holidays. Whatever age you are – don’t forget about your oral health!

Remember- your teeth can be under attack for about an hour after eating or drinking. When you consider how much food and drink is consumed, and how often, particularly on Christmas and Boxing Day, your teeth as well as your stomach may start to groan! The sweet tin passed around (and around), selection boxes and even Bucks Fizz have the potential to damage teeth if consumed too often, so it’s best to try and keep these to mealtimes. Mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding are full of dried fruit which is high in sugar and sticks to the teeth where it can do most damage.

During sleep your saliva flow (the tooth’s natural protective mechanism) slows down, so don’t forget to clean your teeth before bed to make sure that you have removed acid forming plaque (remember to spit toothpaste out but don’t rinse immediately after brushing).

Late night planned? Take extra time to brush and floss before you go out in case it slips your mind when you get home! Vomiting (?!) brings stomach acid into your mouth which can be very erosive to your teeth. Do not brush immediately after vomiting, instead rinse with a fluoride-containing mouth rinse to help heal any damage from stomach acid. Chewing sugar- free gum with xylitol after eating or drinking will help to neutralise acids and limit damage.

The festive season can see a few extra social smokers pop out from the woodwork. Smoking can mask the signs of gum disease and when combined with alcohol increases the risk of mouth cancer.

On the up side cranberries – the traditional accompaniment to the Christmas turkey -are scientifically proven to be beneficial to overall health and a small piece of cheese from the cheeseboard after mealtimes will help return the mouth to its natural acid balance and help reduce the risk of tooth decay. Chewing sugar-free gum for about 10 minutes can also have the same effect.

It is hard to say no – especially to children at this time of year, but encourage them to eat sweets straight after mealtimes rather than grazing all day. Fruit juice should be diluted, 10 parts water to one part juice, as most are acidic and many contain added sugar. Santa adding a toothbrush or brush timer to a stocking encourages toothbrushing as a positive habit for 2 minutes twice a day with benefits lasting long after Christmas!

Your mouth is a window to your overall health and after Christmas especially, that window may need a little TLC. Growing Smiles will be happy to help you have a healthy smile for life.

Happy Christmas from everyone at Growing Smiles

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