Chinese New Year is fast approaching us. This year in 2023, it will be from 22 to 24 January. From changing fresh bank notes for red packets, to buying new clothes and spring-cleaning, the to-do lists are endless. Not to mention the amount of scrumptious food that awaits, the last thing that anybody wants is a toothache to ruin the festive mood.
Here are some things to be mindful of during the festive season to keep your teeth in check!
1. Sticky and sweet snacks
Many of our favorite CNY snacks are high in sugar content. There’s no better way to make them delicious and addictive! Dentists are also human beings; we also do indulge in the same way our patients do. However, for those who are more prone to getting dental diseases (including us dentists), be mindful of how much and how often you are snacking. Be especially careful of snacks that tend to stick on your teeth. Some examples include Ba Kwa, Nian Gao and pineapple tarts. If you have to, remember to rinse your mouth and floss afterwards to make sure they do not linger too long on your tooth surface!
2. Acidic Drinks
Have you ever wondered how tiny miniscule bacteria can cause such big holes and destruction to your teeth? The answer is acid. Apart from acid produced by bacteria, acidic drinks can likewise dissolve the outer layer (enamel) of your teeth. Unlike your bones, tooth structure cannot regenerate and repair itself. So, what is lost is forever gone! Try to choose non-acidic drinks when you’re spoilt for choice and if you really have to, use a straw to minimize contact with your teeth. Additionally, try not to brush your teeth immediately after consumption of food and drinks. Do wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing as the outer layer of teeth is more prone to breakdown from abrasive action after an acidic challenge.
3. Biting Hard Foods
Did you know that one of the jaw muscles (the masseter muscle) is the strongest muscle in the body? Although tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the body, like many other brittle objects, they are not immune to cracks. A crack in any tooth spells disaster. The tooth will usually require protection in the form of a crown and sometimes the tooth cannot be saved at all! Some examples that come to mind are eating nuts and hard candy, using your teeth to open a beer bottle, cracking crab shells and chewing on ice. Please be careful!
4. Brush your teeth twice daily, remember to floss
At the start and end of every day, do not forget the most important dental habit. Remember that you only see us a few times every year. Every other time of the year, YOU are the next best person to care for your teeth! Shower them with love and care and they will serve you all the way. Like my mentor used to say: “Brush the teeth that you want to keep!”
5. See a dentist every 6 months
After the festive season is over, don’t forget to schedule your regular 6 monthly visit to the dentist. If you have not been to the dentist in a long time, now is the time!