Christmastime is full of joy, festivities… and dangers! Here’s a list of the top 12 to look out for to protect your teeth.
Never let it be said that dentists are killjoys – we may dispense dental and dietary advice that you don’t always want to hear, but you know we really have your best interest at heart. In that spirit, we’d like to wish you all a very happy Christmas season, but also remind you to be mindful of the following dangers the festivities pose to your lovely smiles.
Biting into un-popped popcorn
Posh popcorn varieties are all the rage, and a popular party treat, but beware! They’re also responsible for a rise in emergency dental visits. Injuries range from getting the husk stuck under the gum (and causing infection) to cracking a tooth or crown on an insufficiently popped kernel.
What would the holidays be without Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and of course a naughty mince pie or two? But beware: beyond the high sugar content, they contain dried fruits that stick to teeth and can cause havoc, particularly if you indulge between mealtimes.
Speaking of indulging between mealtimes, festive periods often involve near-constant temptation in the form of hospitable treats everywhere you go. It’s hard not to say ‘yes’, but just remember – if it’s not mealtime, you’re probably not really hungry. So, resist temptation and give your teeth some time off to let them recover!
Bubbles, bubbles everywhere
Fizzy drinks, from Prosecco to sparkling water, seem like a more festive option than still, don’t they? The problem is that most contain ridiculous amounts of sugar. Also, the carbonation itself is acidic and eats away your teeth’s precious enamel. We’ll grant you a glass of bubbly to toast the New Year, but otherwise our advice is to steer clear!
You probably know that red wine stains teeth – instantly, for some people – but did you know that white wine causes staining too? It’s more indirect, but white wine is more acidic than red and erodes your teeth’s enamel, leaving them more exposed and vulnerable to staining and decay.
Lack of routine
If you’re like us, you spend a good deal of the holidays sleeping in late and lounging around the house in your pyjamas. It’s one of the simple joys in life. But don’t let the switching off of the alarm clock fool you into thinking you don’t need to stick to your oral health routine. You’ll need that over the holidays more than ever!
Planning a winter escape? You might want to have a check-up before you go, because the changes in air pressure you experience in an airplane, or underwater if your holiday involves SCUBA, can turn a small dental problem into a big one. Better to get a clean bill of dental health beforehand than to have your well-deserved holiday spoiled.
Similarly, if you’re hitting the slopes over Christmas, or indeed anytime this winter, make sure you stick to runs you’re comfortable with. Any accident can cause dental damage as easily as it can cause broken bones. And if you’re skiing with kids, please ensure they wear helmets!
You and your brother fight over everything, including that last turkey drumstick. But playful wrestling can quickly turn quite serious if you accidentally break or knock out a tooth. It’ll ruin your Christmas, as well as everyone else’s. Not only might you face dental damage, but you could easily cut your check, lips or tongue with the broken tooth.
Nutcrackers and bottle openers
Speaking of breaking teeth, let’s talk about some popular party tricks – cracking nuts and opening beer bottles with your teeth. Do we really need to tell you what bad ideas these are? Even if you get away with it this time, you’re likely doing damage you can’t see – at least not yet! It will all catch up with you eventually…
One thing you’ll almost definitely be doing this Christmas is eating turkey, and no, we’re not going to try and take that away from you! But do be sure to floss afterwards, because the meat sinews have a nasty way of sticking between your teeth, potentially leading to decay, bad breath or even infection.
Sweets for Santa
Finally, spare a thought for the man in the red suit. Your kids thoughtfully want to leave biscuits or other sweets out for him, but he really doesn’t need – or want – the extra sugar. Mrs Claus has him on a diet! So leave him carrot sticks instead. He’ll be delighted – and so will Rudolph!
Your friends here at 543 wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas. But, if you do run into trouble, have a look at our dental emergencies page. And why not share this with your friends and families so they head into the holidays armed with the same information?