Chocolate features heavily on most Christmas menus. As a nation, we love nothing more than to reach for the Quality Street as we watch naff telly following a huge turkey dinner with all the trimmings and in a recent YouGov poll our favourite chocolate treats were revealed. Apparently we’re huge fans of Malteaser Teasers, Caramel Hazelnuts and Twirls!
It’s all very well to write off the extra sugar during the festive period, as many of us do, but what does this mean for our teeth? It’s not just chocolates and puddings that causing dental problems, but also alcohol, which has a very high sugar and acid content. Is it okay to ignore our excessive sugar consumption for a few days, or should we be taking some sort of measures to restrict the havoc we could be causing in our mouths?
How does sugar affect teeth?
Our mouths naturally contain bacteria, which is harmless to us. However, when this bacteria interacts with the sugar that enters the mouth, acid is produced. This acid attacks tooth enamel and when it attacks it enough, tooth decay occurs. The end result of tooth decay that has remained undetected for long enough is cavities; a hole in your tooth that is painful. Cavities will require a filling in order to protect your tooth from further damage. So how long does it take for cavities to appear? That all depends on your rate of sugar consumption!
Brushing your teeth to remove food deposits; particularly food deposits which contain sugar, will keep acid attacks under control, but if you’re not brushing your teeth thoroughly enough, regularly enough, or struggling to reach some of the surfaces of your teeth, perhaps because you have tooth alignment problems, then food deposits will remain in the mouth despite brushing. This means acid attacks will continue.
Children are also at risk of tooth decay and milk teeth that are affected can permanently damage the adult teeth underneath them. Can you say with confidence you know your children are brushing their teeth thoroughly enough? Or, if you’re still doing it for them, are you sure you’re reaching every part of every tooth?
Children also benefit from dental appointments to keep tooth decay at bay. Given that a quarter of children start their first day of school with some evidence of tooth decay, it’s important to keep on top of it from a very young age. If you’re not planning to be mindful of your sugar intake over Christmas, at least bear in mind that you may need to take extra care in brushing your teeth.
Cosmetic enhancements for teeth
If it’s too late for your teeth and you’ve already had fillings, did you know that you can have those fillings replaced with more discreet white ones? No doubt, you’ll already be taking better care of your teeth now in order to avoid further cavities, but we here at Sleaford Smiles can help make your existing fillings practically invisible.
If you’re interested in visiting us for our general and family dentistry appointments, or because you’d like a cosmetic treatment to improve your smile, please get in touch. Our reception team will be able to guide you through the registering process and set up a consultation time.