The season of colossal chocolate consumption, mindless mince pie munching and plentiful, plentiful booze is upon us. The toll it takes on our collective waistlines and bank balances is well documented. The effect on our oral health, less so. While we wouldn’t wish to get all Christmas scrooge on you, by adding yet another welfare warning about festive overindulgence, it’s important to bear a few factors in mind when it comes to taking care of our peepers. With that in mind, with the help of Markham Associates Dental Surgeons in Reading, here are 5 lifestyle changes IDEAL for good dental health.

CUT DOWN ON THE BOOZE….

Alcohol can wreak havoc on our oral health, and excessive consumption has links to mouth cancer. In terms of the teeth, booze can cause staining (as we’ve all noticed after a couple of red wines) and the acidic nature of alcohol can lead to erosion of gums and enamel. It’s also important to remember that if you’re on a night out, keep an eye on the amount of mixers you consume; the g’n’ts, the vodka cokes; they all add up. The inevitable dehydration and dry mouth which results from an overindulgence in alcohol also presents problems, as saliva is crucial in keeping your teeth clean. A good idea, then, to watch your booze intake.

….AND CIGS

Cigarettes perhaps present an even greater risk to good dental health. We’re all well aware that the teeth get progressively yellower as a smoker ages, but the issues related to smoking are far more than simply aesthetic here. So rather than waiting for 2019 to make giving up a new year’s resolution, bite the bullet now, and kick the habit for Christmas. Your snogs under the mistletoe will thank you for it.

SUGAR SAVVY

Sugary food and drink are bad for us in myriad ways, with tooth decay being just one of them. Cutting down on the sweet stuff, then, will bring benefits for all over your body. In terms of teeth, decay and long-lasting damage are caused by sugar, so it’s best to avoid overindulging if you want a radiant, beaming smile displaying a full set. It’s important to know just where sugar might be hiding to be able to avoid it most effectively, so get educated and informed.

HYDRATE HEARTILY

Drinking plenty of waters is good for you in so many ways; great for your skin, your hair, your liver and more. You’ll be pleased to hear that the ol’ Adam’s ale is also a useful tool in the fight against tooth decay. This is because it helps to wash off debris which might otherwise get trapped on and between your teeth, and because it keeps your mouth hydrated – saliva being your mouth’s first defence against tooth decay.

STOP CHEWING ICE

It might sound a weird thing to discourage, but we all do it; you’ve finished your drink and want to keep your mouth hydrated or simply something to do. So you pop in the leftover ice cube and have a good chew. Dental professionals, however, caution against this, as having a nosh can cause erosion (a persistent urge to do so may also be a sign that you’re suffering from iron deficiency).

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.