Tips for healthy teeth these holidays

The holidays are upon us which means time off work and study for many people. It’s the time of year where many of us catch-up with friends and family, socialising over drinks or enjoying a meal out or a barbecue in the backyard.

Our previous articles have focused on tips for consuming alcohol smarter or how to navigate festive foods but what about looking after your teeth too?

Good oral care is essential for our overall health and wellbeing. The mouth contains hundreds of bacteria and poor oral hygiene can lead to it spreading to adjacent parts of the body. Gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis are infections that can have an impact on health and wellbeing. Periodontitis particularly, is associated with osteoporosis, respiratory disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other medical conditions.

What you consume affects your mouth and teeth, with sugary or starchy foods interacting with the bacteria in our mouths to cause acids. These acids then dissolve tooth enamel and cause cavities, which can then lead to toothaches and other dental problems.


To keep your smile flawless and mouth in good shape, follow these tips:

1. Your teeth aren’t scissors or tools

A common cause of dental emergencies over the holiday period are a result of using teeth to open presents, cut sticky tape, or open bottles. While this may save having to search for scissors or other implements, it can also lead to chipping or breaking a tooth. Make sure the only thing you’re using your teeth for is to eat!

2. Don’t eat mindlessly

There’s an abundance of sweet treats readily at hand over the holidays with chocolates, desserts and candy canes around for snacking. These sugary treats will damage your teeth and cause cavities if you’re constantly eating them though. If you can, brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water afterwards to wash away any sugary residue and prevent any build-up of cavity causing bacteria. If you also limit any sugary desserts to mealtimes when your mouth has produced more saliva, this will help neutralise excess sugars.

3. Limit sugary drinks and alcohol

Soft drinks, juices and wines are all acidic, which can weaken the protective layer of enamel on your teeth leading to cavities. Alcohol can also increase the risk of gum disease. To help protect your teeth when drinking acidic beverages, use a straw as this will help minimise contact between liquids and teeth. Drinking water will help rinse any bacteria from your mouth and you can chew sugar-free gum to produce saliva and wash away excess sugars and acids. If you want to brush your teeth, don’t do it straight after drinking. Wait for at least half an hour to avoid brushing away any weakened enamel.

4. Rethink candy canes and hard sweets

Candy canes and other hard foods such as toffees and nuts are enjoyable, but they can also chip or break teeth. They’re often 100 per cent sugar and will take longer to dissolve in your mouth, prolonging your teeth to sugar exposure as you suck them. Say cheese not just for the photos, but also as an alternative to sugary sweets. Cheeses are calcium rich and have pH balancing properties that can neutralise acids. If you do want that hard sweet though, take extra care and have small bites, drinking water afterwards. Dark chocolate is also a good substitute for hard sweets, it’s rich in antioxidants that can improve your health.

5. Keep up your regular routine

It can be easy to get out of our routines over the holiday period but not keeping up with your regular brushing and flossing will have long-term consequences so make sure you don’t forget about your oral health. It’s particularly important at this time of year when we’re eating and drinking more than we normally would. If you’re heading away, don’t forget to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash! Ensure you brush for two minutes in the morning and evening and floss once a day to ensure you maintain your usual habits.


Following these tips will hopefully get you through the holidays without any dental issues however, it’s a good idea to have a regular dental check-up scheduled to kick-off the year. Enjoy your holiday break and socialising with friends and family but remember- good oral care is important for your overall health.

Last updated:
9 January 2023