Maintaining Your Oral Health Over The Holiday Season

The end of year holidays, or ‘silly season’, is upon us. It is a time when we are supposed to be re-charging our batteries so that we can enter the new year ready to go. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case as we usually make some questionable decisions when it comes to food, alcohol, sleep and exercise.

Here are a few tips to help you maintain your oral and general health over the holiday season.

1.     Increase your water intake – aim for 2L a day. Summer in Australia gets hot. We can get dehydrated easily and we can increase our intake of chocolate and other sweets. Dehydration causes your saliva to dry out and leaves you more susceptible to holes in your teeth. Throw some sweet stuff in the mix with no saliva and your chance of decay goes up. Get yourself a reusable stainless-steel water bottle on you and try to get your 2L every day!

2.     Change up your snacks – instead of turning to the sweet stuff, go for foods that stimulate saliva and protect your teeth. Snacks such as nuts, carrots and celery are a good thing to have around.

3.     Increase your Vitamin C – after a year of hard work, we get the usual ‘adrenaline dump’ when we finally get a chance to rest. This leaves us susceptible to cold’s and flu’s. The last thing we want during our well-earned break is to spend it in bed. Grab yourself a high-grade vitamin C supplement or load up on foods high in C such as dark leafy greens and citrus fruits. Vitamin C is also very important for healthy gums.

4.     Skip the mixed alcoholic beverages – common drinks such as rum and coke, gin and tonic and vodka orange are highly acidic and can cause tooth erosion and leave you susceptible to decay. Try to have your spirits ‘neat’ to reduce your exposure to acids and sugars. If you just can’t say no to ‘mixer’ drinks always follow it up with a water and load your glass up with ice cubes.

5.     Get to bed early (when you can). With Christmas parties and end of year functions, this is easier said than done, but on the days when you don’t have something on, make sure your sleep is a priority. This means aiming to be asleep by 10pm, avoiding technology at least 2 hours before bed, leaving your phone well away from your head and switching the Wi-Fi off. It is also good to avoid alcohol, caffeine and warm fluids before bed as you are more likely to wake to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

6.     Practice some ‘active recovery’ – its easy to let the exercise routine go over the Christmas period. Similarly, for some it is easy to over-train. Make sure you are going for a daily walk, doing some meditation, yoga or pilates to keep your body moving without overstressing it.

Remember, from a mental health standpoint it is important to have fun, be social and ‘let your hair down’. But it is also important to do this in moderation. Follow the above steps for a happy and healthy holiday period.

Happy holidays!

Lewis Ehrlich