9th Dec 2015

Top Tips For Good Oral Health Over The Festive Season


With the festive season well underway, we are inundated with all sorts of wonderful Christmas treats – with the result that oral health can take a battering.

I like a Christmas party as well as the next person, but here are a few tips that might help us all to get through the season without putting our oral health under too much risk.

1. Alcohol is often a given at this time of year, but excessive drinking (over 21 regular drinks per week) over a long period of time can be linked to oral cancer. So enjoy a Christmas tipple, but try and keep to sensible limits and drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink to avoid dehydration of both your body and your mouth. You will be glad you did the morning after too!

2. Smoking has a clear connection to oral cancer, and it is surprising how reformed smokers take it up again at the Christmas Party, or occasional smokers up the anti by increasing the number they smoke. And yes, cigars count as smoking too in case you are wondering. If you’re tempted to smoke, why not try an e-cigarette instead; vaping has been shown to dramatically reduce the harmful effects of smoking. Or better still don’t smoke at all.

3. Kissing under the mistletoe is a fun part of Christmas for many, and far be it from me to put a damper on it. However as an oral health specialist I would not be doing my job if I did not mention my concern over the human papilloma virus (HPV). Teenage girls are given a 20-year vaccine against this as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme – but it’s time we offered it to boys as well!

4. Your teeth can take a real hammering over Christmas – with sweets, chocolates, toffees, nuts and an array of sugary hits delivered continuously. Try swapping sweet snacks for cheese, which will help restore the natural acid balance in your mouth. And you wouldn’t ditch your personal hygiene routine over Christmas so why let your dental hygiene slip? Make sure you continue to brush twice a day and give your teeth the chance they need to recover from all the sweets.

5. The Christmas and New Year period can be a tricky time to fit in visits to the dentist or doctor, but if you have a persistent problem that has been hanging around for two weeks or more, such as a cough, ulcer, pain, or change in appearance of any part of your mouth or throat do get it checked out quickly. Book an appointment now if you are worried about any of the above and for that unexpected emergency there will always be a professional available in your area, just make sure you are registered with a dentist and doctor locally and you will be able to continue your festive fun.

Above all though, have a safe, happy and peaceful Christmas and best wishes for New Year.

For more information about Prof Nutting's work please visit the CV page, get in touch or arrange a consultation.