From canapés to cocktails, our favourite festive treats and tipples are a cavity waiting to happen. Dr Victor of MyDental.ie reveals the culprits and offers some simple swaps:
Cool it on the canapés this Christmas if you are looking after your teeth: Starchy cream crackers stick to the teeth and lodge between the gums, treating bacteria to a festive feast. This bacteria produces acid that erodes enamel, causing decay. Crackers can also dry the mouth of the saliva that helps to wash away plaque. Look for wholegrain crackers instead or snack on vegetable crudités.
Looking forward to your Christmas dinner? Set aside the grapefruit starter this year and your teeth will thank you for it. The high acid content in citrus fruits like grapefruits, lemons and limes can damage our protective tooth enamel. Swap it for cantaloupe with parma ham instead.
Dried fruit and peel in Christmas cake are a sticky and sweet attack on tooth enamel, sticking in the crevices between teeth and along the gum line. Add a syrupy latte or chocolate-covered cappuccino and not only are cavities are worry but the coffee will discolour your teeth. Look to fresh fruit with refreshing mint tea to finish a meal.
Enjoying a glass or two of Christmas cheer can cause untold damage to your teeth. The combination of fruit acid and bubbles in prosecco wears away the enamel on the front teeth, making them more sensitive. The sugar levels are also a cause for concern with on average one teaspoon of sugar in a small flute. Drink a glass of water between tipples, not only will it ease the burden on your liver, it will rinse away the sugar from the surface of the teeth.
A staple of the party season, cocktails are a triple threat to teeth: alcohol and caffeinated drinks like cola can reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth, leaving it open to decay and infections like gum disease; mixers and syrups are loaded with cavity causing sugar, and crunching on ice can cause damage to existing fillings or dental work, can crack or chip teeth and cause them to become more sensitive. Use a straw to avoid coating your teeth is sugary liquids and sip a glass of water between each one.
Dr Victor is a registered dentist based at MyDental with locations in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 and Cherrywood, Co Dublin. www.mydental.ie