How to care for your pearly whites this party season
It’s that time of year when it seems almost impossible to avoid sweet food. Whether it’s cocktails at the office party or Christmas pudding at the family feast, it seems like December is the most difficult time of year to be health-conscious. But with research showing eight in 10 Australians will be indulging their sweet tooth this silly season, only two in 10 will protect their teeth from the risk of erosion and cavities associated.
Dr Christopher Ho, leading Australian dentist and spokesperson for Oral-B, talks to madison about his top five tips for protecting your pearly whites during party season.
1. Pack smart. Those venturing overseas or on vacation during Christmas need to update their packing list to include a power toothbrush. “Brushes using oscillating-rotating technology are proven to be more effective,” says Dr Ho. In other words, don’t rely on the hotel to supply a manual disposable brush – your health will suffer. Another travel tip is to add chewing gum to your carry-on luggage, as it boosts saliva which has antibacterial properties. “Just make sure the type of gum is sugar free,” he says.
2. Switch to soda. It’s easy for your sugar tally to go up during a party with drinks constantly being topped up and the mentality that you deserve that cocktail as a treat. But Dr Ho says you don’t need to miss out to keep your teeth safe. Making a simple change like switching your vodka mixer from lemonade to soda water “can really make a big difference,” he says. The biggest sugar culprits to watch out for this season are energy drinks, fruit juice, wine and sports drinks, advises Dr Ho.
3. Make a sweet time. “When you have sweet treats, try to concentrate them to one time of day instead of snacking on sugar all day long,” says Dr Ho. Why? It gives your mouth a chance to regulate the acid levels that will likely help prevent plaque, and stops you from continually snacking.
4. Give smart gifts. Few people would ask for weight gain or cavities for Christmas so why gift your friends and family sugary treats? Be health conscious when you’re picking out a present and opt for something that will make them active and healthy.
5. Befriend water. It’s a piece of advice that’s enduring because it’s so simple and effective: drink lots of water during party season (and summer) for a tonne of health benefits. From an oral health point of view, Dr Ho explains: “Drinking a glass of water between your alcoholic drinks will help reduce the acid… and stop the mouth from becoming dehydrated which can cause tooth erosion.” It will also help prevent that hideous hang over the next morning, so make sure you stagger your cocktail orders with water.
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