TORONTO, ON — The holiday season is here and the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) is giving you the gift of knowledge – how to enjoy any social engagement while still protecting your teeth. Whether at an office party or entertaining at home, you should be aware of the less-than-festive impact the holidays can have on your mouth.
Stress: This happy time of year can also be overwhelming for some people. That can lead to sleepless nights, over-indulging in rich foods and alcohol and a lower immune system response which can reduce your ability to fight the bacteria that causes gum disease. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is also a common reaction to stress and over time can wear tooth surfaces down and cause sore and loose teeth.
Wine, champagne, cocktails and beer: You may be avoiding sweets but natural sugar is lurking in wine, champagne and some cocktails and beers. Red wine can also discolour your teeth. The sugar and naturally occurring acid in all these beverages can wear down tooth enamel, so drink in moderation.
Meats and starches: Floss is your friend, especially after a big turkey dinner! Also, starchy foods like stuffing, pasta, bread and crackers stick to teeth and that can lead to tooth decay. Starches break down into sugar and that’s exactly what mouth bacteria feasts on.
Sweets: We’ve been told Santa loves candy canes and cookies, but the snacks left for his reindeer, like carrots, apples and celery, are a healthier choice as they do a better job at keeping teeth clean. Sweets are okay in small amounts and are best eaten with a meal to limit the time sugar lingers in your mouth.
“It’s that time of year when we celebrate the season in the workplace, at office parties and social gatherings with family and friends,” says ODA President Dr. Jack McLister. “Sticking to the tried and true oral health-care habits of brushing twice a day, flossing daily and seeing your dentist regularly will allow you to be merry and still keep a healthy smile.”
About the Ontario Dental Association
The ODA has been the voluntary professional association for dentists in Ontario since 1867. Today, we represent more than 9,000, or nine in 10, dentists across the province. The ODA is Ontario’s primary source of information on oral health and the dental profession. We advocate for accessible and sustainable optimal oral health for all Ontarians by working with health-care professionals, governments, the private sector and the public. For more information on this and other helpful dental care tips, visit www.youroralhealth.ca.