It’s the most wonderful time of the year for our tongue, but not necessarily our teeth! Christmas involves a lot of sugary treats which may be delicious and festive, but are very bad for your dental health.

We know that festive biscuits, cookies and chocolates are packed full of sugar. Although they are great gifts to give and receive, it pays to be aware of your sugar intake over Christmas. Of course, we all love to indulge and enjoy these treats, but don’t forget to treat your teeth right and take care of them as well. Dr Jenny Kabir from Fresh Dental Smile Clinic in York shares her advice on how to enjoy the treats of Christmas whilst still keeping your teeth healthy!

Enjoy sweet treats in moderation

Firstly, as much as you want to eat all the delicious food at Christmas, be aware of how much and how regularly you are eating. Eating treats in moderation is good, but what’s even better for teeth is to save the sugary treats until mealtimes.

If you snack on sugary food throughout the day, the sugar can get stuck on or in between teeth. The bacteria in your mouth feeds off the sugar to create plaque, which then leads to tooth decay. This is why it’s so important to limit the amount of the times when you consume sugar, even more so than limiting the quantity you consume. Snacking and Christmas often go hand in hand, however save that Christmas pudding or mince pie for dessert, and stick to the nuts and savouries in between!

Brush and floss twice a day, everyday

The all-important brushing and flossing is crucial at this time of year. Children may be excited before going to bed as Father Christmas is coming, but tell them he won’t come if they don’t clean their teeth! A non-chocolate advent calendar is great for rewarding brushing, or they could be allowed to add a decoration to the Christmas tree each time they brush.

As for the adults, coming home from socialising or a party and finding the energy to brush your teeth can often be difficult. However, these festive parties often have the alcohol flowing and sugary treats offered all around, so it’s particularly important to brush when you get home. Ladies, this is a perfect time to pack some floss in your bag. When you nip to the loo to redo your make-up, have a quick floss to get rid of any sugar and food stuck in between your teeth.

Water after sugary snacks can help limit the damage

“Would you like some water?” is not a question commonly heard at Christmas. Replace water with mulled wine or spiced apple juice and it’s much more festive — but also much worse for your teeth. Some alcoholic drinks contain a lot of sugar, but so too can those festive drinks in your favourite cafe. The Metro recently discovered the true amount of sugar in Christmas drinks and some of the numbers are shocking. Whilst you’re out Christmas shopping, think about where you stop for a drink and what you have.

Drinking water is important for taking care of your teeth over the festive season. After you have  food or drink with high sugar content, rinse your mouth out with water as this can help remove the excess sugar.

Non-sugary treats will keep tooth decay at bay

Although it may seem impossible to avoid sugar at Christmas, there are some great snacks and treats you can consume which are better for your teeth. There are even some non-sugar recipes which you can whip up at home. Alternatives to chocolates and biscuits are wholegrain festive shaped crackers with some cheese. Cheese is great for teeth and crackers contain little sugar so are a suitable treat for all the family. Cutting out carrot or cucumber in festive shapes also makes them more fun to snack on throughout the day.

Take it easy on the sugar and your teeth will feel the benefits. Most importantly, have a happy and wonderful Christmas!