Many wrapped Christmas presents pilled under a tree

Tooth-friendly rules for the 12 days of Christmas

It’s that time of year again, and the chill in the air and the presence of twinkling lights on every high street tell us that the festive season is well and truly underway.

The midwinter festivities are a time for enjoying plenty of delicious foods and drinks; from all-out festive feasts to catching up with friends and family over sweet treats and fizz. Those extra indulgences are as central to Christmas as singing carols, kissing under mistletoe, and novelty knitwear.

As a result, taking care of your oral health during the holidays takes on a little extra importance. At Bupa Dental Care, we want you to start the new year with your best-ever smiles and a commitment to keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top condition. That’s why we’ve put together this rundown of dental best practices, with one for each of the 12 most indulgent days of the year.

You won’t find any leaping lords, French hens, partridges or pear trees in this list. However, follow these nuggets of dental care advice, and your teeth will be more than a little grateful by the time New Year’s Day rolls around.

A bowl of nuts and a nutcracker displayed on a wooden background

Day 1: Graze with caution

The festive season is all about enjoying those naughty-but-nice nibbles, but constantly going back for more snacks throughout the day won’t do your teeth any favours. If you do feel the need to reach for more food, opt for tooth-friendly treats like cheese or raw fruits, nuts and veggies. Or alternatively, gorge in one go and then give your teeth some time to recover.

Day 2: Drinking Champagne? Wait before brushing!

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a bottle of bubbly. However, sparkling wine is both very acidic and surprisingly sugary - both of which make it harmful for your tooth enamel. Be sure to wait a minimum of an hour after drinking before you brush, as this will minimise wear on your teeth. And if you can follow it with a glass of water, even better.

An overhead view of gifts for an advent calendar next to Christmas decorations

Day 3: Advent calendar awareness

Have you considered alternative advent calendars? Choose one with toys, jokes, puzzles or other treats to reduce sugar intake for your teeth.

Day 4: Ask Santa for a new toothbrush

Christmas is a time of giving. Why not put a brand new toothbrush on your Christmas list? Remember, you should be replacing your toothbrush every four months or so to ensure your brushing remains effective.

A women's hands wrapping ribbon around a Christmas present

Day 5: Don’t risk your teeth on tape

We’re all guilty of biting off strips of sticky tape when busy wrapping presents… but this time-saving tactic is a common culprit for chipped or broken teeth! Use scissors and save yourself an emergency trip to the dentist this Christmas.

Day 6: Turkey is tooth-friendly

Because of the high amounts of phosphorus present in turkey meat (which is great for strengthening bones and teeth), this Christmas staple is actually one of the more tooth-friendly festive treats to choose. Nut roasts – especially those packed with phosphorus-rich Brazil nuts – make an excellent veggie or vegan option your teeth will be grateful for. Tuck right in!

A group of people dressed in festive outfits toasting at Christmas dinner

Day 7: Stay hydrated

It’s tempting to over-indulge with sparkling wine, fizzy drinks or other beverages which can harm your teeth during the holiday season. Water is and always will be the tooth-friendly drink of choice; it doesn’t just keep you hydrated without any additional sugar, it also rinses bacteria and food particles from your mouth.

Day 8: If you must have sweets…

We know - it just wouldn’t be Christmas without some sweet treats. Reduce the risk to your oral health by switching out harmful hard sweets, and sticky toffees with chocolate, and if you can go for a dark option, even better.

A little girl brushing her teeth in a santa hat

Day 9: Don’t forget your toothbrush

Visiting friends or family for the holidays? Be sure to pack your toothbrush and essentials like fluoride toothpaste, dental floss and any retainers of Invisalign aligner trays and cleaning fluids you’re using.

Day 10: Stick to your regular oral health routine

It’s fair to say that the holiday season has a habit of throwing good habits and routines out of the window for a while. Make sure your oral health routine - brushing and flossing a minimum of twice a day - remains intact through the festivities.

A bunch of reusable metal straws in a glass

Day 11: Reach for the straws

Fancy a fizzy drink or two? Using a straw can reduce the amount of contact the sugars in your drink have with your teeth. Pick up a sustainable reusable straw, and do your bit for the planet and your teeth at the same time.

Day 12: Book your next dentist check-up

Start 2024 as you mean to continue, and book your first dentist appointment of the year or sign up for for a dental subscription product, such as Bupa Smile Plan.

With Bupa Smile Plan, you’ll be able to commit to a set number of dentist check-ups and hygiene appointments (and benefit from free dental X-rays and discounts on a range of treatments and services), spreading the cost throughout the year in manageable bite-sized monthly payments.

It’s the kind of New Year’s Resolution your oral health - and your happy, confident and healthy smile - will thank you for.

Find your nearest dental practice

Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

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