23 Dec 2016  •  Dental Health  •  4min read By  • Sarah Coulson

How to look after your teeth during the Christmas period

Even the most dedicated gym bunnies tend to overindulge at Christmas time, and why not? A day or two of overindulgence during the festive season won’t do us much damage in the long-term, in fact, it can help us to maintain a healthy relationship with food! Media reports suggest that we can eat a staggering 6000 calories on Christmas day! That’s three times the recommended daily intake of 2000 calories per day for women and over double the recommended 2500 calories for men.

But, how can this overindulgence impact upon our oral health? Nutritionist Sarah Coulson explains how the foods and drinks we consume at Christmas time can affect our teeth and shares her advice on what to do to look after your pearly whites.

Time for a drink?!

In terms of our oral health, what we need to be very aware of at Christmas time is the amount of sugary sweets and drinks that we are consuming. It’s easy to overindulge especially when our drinks are packed with sugar, with some containing as much as 13 teaspoons of sugar in a standard 330ml can (Extra Fiery Ginger Beer).

Consuming diet versions of your favourite drinks, or no sugar ‘zero’ alternatives is an easy tip for keeping your sugar intake down. Also, despite the spirit of the season, it’s recommended that you keep your alcohol consumption to a safe level, as excess can have a negative effect on your oral health, so try sticking to the Government recommendation of 14 units per week.

When you do treat yourself to a full sugar version of your favorite drink, drink it with a straw as this will restrict the access of the free sugars to the surface of your teeth. For reference, the recommended maximum daily sugar intake for someone over the age of 11 is 30g a day, which is equivalent to 7.5 teaspoons.

And, don’t forget that these sugary drinks and alcohol are contributing ‘empty’ calories to your diet that is calories that contain no nutrients, they simply supply energy from fat or sugar.

Keep an eye on the sugar contained within your drinks

The table below lists some fizzy drinks that contain a large amount of sugar:

Amount of sugar in fizzy drinks  Grams of sugar per 100ml
Old Jamaica Ginger Beer Extra Fiery 15.7
Rockstar Punched Guava 15.6
Old Jamaica Ginger Beer 15.2
Mountain Dew 13
Coke Cherry 11.2
Pepsi Cola 11
Red Bull 11
Monster Origin Energy Drink 11
7 Up 11
Coca Cola 10.6
Fentiman’s Cherrytree Cola 10.5
Irn Bru 10.3
Cherry 7-Up 10
San Pellegrino lemon 8.9
Vimto Regular 9.1
Lucozade Energy Original 8.7

Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35831125

Dinner time…

Of course over Christmas, we’re all guilty of eating a little extra: one more mince pie; a little more custard; just one more chocolate! However, all of these lovely carbohydrate-based meals and snacks pose a real threat to your oral health, especially sticky puddings and sweets.  Any exposure of your teeth to simple sugars will increase your risk of dental caries, so limit sweets and puddings (including sugary drinks) to meal times and brush your teeth at least twice per day and after consuming a sticky sugary food or drink.

By keeping following these simple tips, not only can you enjoy the festive season but you can also ensure that you’re looking after your oral health!



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