With Easter just around the corner, it’s easy to forget special holidays in a trying time like this. Usually an occasion spent visiting family members; going to community events; attending church services, and celebrating with friends, social distancing regulations ensure this year will be different.
However, that doesn’t mean you still can’t have a wonderful celebration at home – be it a bit quieter. It will probably involve copious amounts of chocolate eggs and quarantinis, so it’s important to remember to keep your teeth and gums healthy this holiday break. Luckily, we’ve got 5 top tips to keep your teeth in tip top shape this Easter.
1) Brush and floss your teeth twice a day
We had to start with this tip as it’s the most important and one we hope people employ every day anyway. This is especially important over Easter when you typically consume more sugar than usual, in the form of delicious chocolate eggs!
Even though you’ve been cleaning your teeth since you were very young, it’s easy to pick up some bad habits along the way and lose the correct technique. The most important thing for a great clean is to ensure you allow the time to do it properly. You should be brushing for 2 minutes twice a day, once in the morning (before or after breakfast doesn’t matter) and once before bed. You can choose to use an electric toothbrush, as it generally removes more plaque than a manual toothbrush, but you still need to put in the time.
It’s equally imperative to ensure you’re flossing before or after brushing, as nearly half of the surface area of your teeth is between them and can be missed easily with a toothbrush. Flossing helps remove any plaque or food caught between your teeth that causes bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.
To finish off good oral hygiene habits, you can choose to rinse your mouth out with mouthwash. You may need mouthwash to help with certain dental conditions or you may just want it to help freshen up your breath, either way make sure it’s a regular part of your routine to get the best results.
2) Choose dark chocolate Easter eggs
We’d obviously advise to avoid sugar and chocolate as much as possible to prevent cavities, but understandably Easter eggs are part of the holiday tradition! Instead, our next top tip is to try and substitute white or milk chocolate, where possible, for dark chocolate. We all know how delicious that Cadbury Crème Egg can be, however it contains a whopping 6 teaspoons of sugar!
Dark chocolate usually contains less sugar then other types and interestingly has been said to be effective at fighting bacteria, cavities and plaque build-up. Dark chocolate varieties contain polyphenols – micronutrients naturally found in plant foods – which help fight gum disease and neutralize bad breath.
Wonderful news right? Though they still contain sugar so you need to keep up your oral hygiene routine.
3) Avoid sticky or hard boiled sweets
Although most sweets aren’t good for your dental health, sticky sweets in particular (such as toffees and chewy lollies) are usually jam packed with sugar that clings to the surfaces of your teeth. Sugar provides nutrients to the bacteria living in your mouth and the more you consume, the more the bacteria starts to produce harmful acids that decay your teeth. This can leave you with plaque build-up, gum deterioration, weak enamel and other serious dental problems.
Another sugary treat that poses a danger to your dental health, are hard boiled candies such as lollipops and humbugs. Apart from the fact that they have large quantities of sugar in them, hard sweets pose the risk of cracking or chipping a tooth.
Instead of these sticky or hard candies, opt for a sugarless treat or crunchy fruit and vegetables.
4) Drink lots of water
Drinking enough water is vital for not just your oral health, but your overall health as well. Water helps to wash out any food stuck in your teeth and maintain good levels of saliva, which is the mouth’s natural mouthwash. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a common issue due to a lack of saliva. It can be caused by certain medications, diseases or infections, lifestyle choices such as smoking, and dehydration from not drinking enough water. Without enough saliva production, your teeth are more defenseless against damaging bacteria and acid.
Over the Easter break it will be very tempting to have a quarantini or five, but make sure you’re getting your daily intake of H2O as well. Try and substitute less tooth-friendly drinks like high-sugar fruit juice, soft drink and coffee, for water when you can. Rinsing your mouth out after drinking teeth staining liquids such as coffee, tea and red wine, is also a good idea to maintain healthy white teeth.
5) Keep a balanced diet to maintain healthy teeth
Finally, our last top tip to keep your teeth and gums in great shape is to make sure you’re eating a healthy diet. This applies for Easter and every other day. What you put into your body is directly linked to your overall health and although it’s tempting to get up and visit your fridge every 30 minutes while at home, make a conscious effort to think before you eat and drink. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks, but also be aware of food that is actually good for your teeth.
Young or old, calcium is an extremely important part of your diet to support strong bones and help strengthen teeth enamel. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, can provide the right calcium intake but you can also find it in an assortment of plant based food as well.
Fruit and vegetables are key to a healthy diet as they have high water concentration and require you to chew which encourages saliva production. They’re also a great substitute for sugary snacks. When it comes to keeping your teeth healthy, what you eat is just as vital as what you avoid. Choose teeth-friendly foods as part of your Easter break.
If you do have acute pain or trauma over the next 6 months, our NDC Group practices are still open to help with any dental emergencies. Don’t add cavities to your list of things to worry about during isolation, follow these tips to maintain great oral health!