KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 – With the festive season around the corner, most of us are already salivating with anticipation for the delightful and delicious treats while we celebrate with our loved ones.
However, it can sometimes lead us to forget the importance of maintaining good dental health.
Dental surgeon Dr Emilia Chua at Sunway Medical Centre shares her insights on how to maintain our beautiful smile during the upcoming festive season.
Indulge In The Art Of Moderation
“It is okay to enjoy treats, but moderation is key. Avoid consuming excessive sugary food and drinks as this can contribute to tooth decay and other dental issues.
“Simple changes such as opting for sweets that are less harmful to your teeth can really make a difference to your dental health such as dark chocolate, which is generally a better choice than sticky or hard candies, as it is less likely to stick to your teeth and cause decay as it contains less sugar.
“It is also better to consume sweets with meals rather than as snacks. This is because the increased saliva production during meals can help neutralise acids and rinse away food particles,” said Dr Chua.
Dr Chua also suggests choosing oral-friendly food like fresh fruits, vegetables with hummus, cheese, nuts, lean proteins, whole grains, and beverages like green and black teas, which can provide additional oral health benefits.
“During the festive season, there will be an increase in consuming oranges, but do consume in moderation as oranges are acidic and could erode the enamel and increase risk of tooth decay.
“Use a straw for sugary or acidic drinks such as soft drinks and keep them at mealtimes, stay hydrated with water, and chew sugar-free xylitol gum to stimulate saliva and prevent tooth decay,” she explained.
Preparing For The Festivities
It is best to schedule a dental check-up and cleaning before the festive season to ensure our teeth are in good condition and to address potential issues.
“Consult with your dentist for personalised advice and to discuss treatment options like fillings, teeth whitening, veneers, crowns, and replacements when you visit,” Dr Chua advised.
“Encourage children to consume sugary food with moderation. Opt for teeth-friendly snacks and encourage water consumption. Maintain a regular oral care routine and supervise brushing for younger children,” she added.
Here are more tips for better oral health:
- Limiting sugary and acidic drinks.
- Rinsing the mouth after consuming sweets, stay hydrated to flush away particles and acids.
- Choosing teeth-friendly snacks such as carrots, celery, milk, cheese, yoghurt, and more.
- Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to prevent gum disease.
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet.
- Replace your toothbrush regularly.
- Regular dental check-ups.
Maintaining Your Oral Health While Travelling
Festive season is also the time for us to go off for holidays. Some of us may experience sensitive teeth while travelling to locations with cold or chilly weather.
“Cold air and some local food which are high in sugar and acid can increase the risk of tooth sensitivity, especially in areas where the roots of the teeth are exposed or areas of tooth wear.
“Even when travelling, do maintain your regular oral hygiene practices such as brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash, during the holidays to minimise the risk of sensitivity and other dental issues,” said Dr Chua.
Tips to help maintain good oral hygiene while traveling:
- Pack enough oral care items and include a travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, especially in the plane or for short trips.
- Consider using a toothbrush cover to keep it clean.
- Stay hydrated to rinse away particles and prevent dry mouth.
- Watch your diet, limiting sugary snacks and acidic drinks.
- Stick to your regular oral care routine: brush twice a day and floss daily.
- Schedule a dental check-up before traveling to avoid any additional dental emergencies.
In Case Of Dental Emergencies
While it is not ideal to have a dental emergency during the festive season such as breaking a filling while chewing a groundnut or hard candy or tooth sensitivity, sometimes it cannot be avoided.
Here are some tips to help you while you make your dental appointment:
- Rinse your mouth and gently floss.
- Use a cold compress for any swelling and take painkillers such as paracetamol.
- If there are swelling, fever, or difficulty breathing or swallowing, seek emergency dental care or visit the nearest emergency room for immediate assistance.
- For a knocked-out tooth, hold it by the crown, rinse without scrubbing, and try reinserting it in the socket immediately if possible or store it in milk or saliva to maintain the tooth while seeking immediate dental attention.
- For lost fillings or dislodged crowns, maintain cleanliness and keep the detached crowns safe and seek dental attention promptly.
By prioritising dental care and following these tips, you can enjoy a happy and healthy festive season while maintaining your dental health and hygiene.