20 December 2018

5 Holiday Foods That Could Be Damaging Your Teeth

With Christmas celebrations already well underway, it’s time for all of us to eat, drink and be merry. It’s the time of year when reckless amounts of cake, sweets and other holiday goodies are consumed, and everyone feels very content about it. Except for dentists. Because we know that over the Christmas period we will see a lot of people with damaged teeth, toothache and other problems, and in January we will be filling an awful lot of cavities. And since very few people actually enjoy going to the dentist to have work done, we thought we would share with you some of the festive foods to avoid this year if you want to protect your teeth.

Candy Canes
sugary impact of candy on your teethThese iconic Christmas treats are often used as tree decorations, or given out as a festive treat to children, and even crushed up and baked into holiday foods. But just like other hard candies, they are notoriously bad for your teeth and mouth. Not only do they represent a huge injection of sugar (that’s basically all they’re made of), which sticks to the teeth and encourages decay, they are also a leading cause of chipped teeth from people biting down on them. They can also cause abscesses or ulcers, where people suck on the ends and make them sharp, and then cut the inside of their mouths with them. So while candy canes look great, be careful when you eat them, and always rinse your mouth with water afterwards (or better, brush your teeth).  

Dried Fruits and Fruitcake
If you were looking for an excuse to avoid eating fruitcake this Christmas, here it is. While dried fruit might seem a better option for a snack than a cookie or cupcake, they can actually increase the risk of you getting a cavity. This ‘healthy’ alternative is actually packed with sugar, and the sticky nature means it’s harder to shift off your teeth afterwards, making them a breeding ground for bacteria. Fruitcake has a similar problem, but with an added risk. If you happen to have weak teeth, crowns or fillings, these super-sticky cakes could actually pull them apart, leading to some pretty intense pain, not to mention the perfect environment for bacteria to multiply and cause cavities.

Hot Chocolate
dairy impact of hot chocolate, smelly breath
Is there anything more Christmassy than a steaming mug of hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream and marshmallows? Mulled wine maybe, but generally hot chocolate sales soar at this time of year, with chains like Costa seeing a 200% increase in the number ordered compared to other times of year.  But cocoa has an extraordinarily high sugar content, which can lead to tooth decay, and all that extra dairy can lead to bad breath – which isn’t great when you’re supposed to be hugging a lot of people!

This is a pretty new introduction to the UK, but it’s gaining popularity quickly. But for a dentist, Eggnog is one of the worst holiday drinks you can consume for 2 reasons. The first is the fact that it includes alcohol – usually bourbon or some other spirit, which can wreak havoc on your mouth. Alcohol can make the mouth very dry, which creates an environment primed for gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. To add to that, Eggnog is mainly made of milk, cream and other dairy products. But dairy proteins are easily converted into odorous sulphur compounds by the bacteria that live in your mouth. In other words, Eggnog will give you some killer eggy breath!

Anything With Caramel Or Fudge 
We know it’s an absolute festive staple, but that box of Quality Street could cause a lot more problems than you think. Caramel and fudge are particularly bad for your teeth, not only because they contain higher levels of sugar than other sweets, but because they are sticky, hard and gooey. This means that you’re a risk of pulling out fillings, crowns or even teeth as you try to prise your jaws apart. And the fact that you’re often picking it out of (or sucking it off) your teeth for hours after you ate it shows that the sugar content sticks to your teeth like glue, giving the bacteria in your mouth all of the food they need to multiply and cause cavities. So if you don’t want to kick off your 2019 having cavities filled, we’d advise avoiding too much caramel.

All that said, we know how much fun Christmas can be, and that for many it’s the one time of the year they indulge. So we’re not saying you should avoid eating or drinking these things completely. If you want to, have them! Just be sure to take care of your teeth if you do. That means drinking plenty of water to flush the bacteria off your teeth, and making sure you brush your teeth, floss and use mouthwash at least twice a day (no matter how much you don’t feel like it on Christmas Day! If you want to find out more about keeping your teeth healthy over Christmas, or to book your check-up, just get in touch with us today.

To transform your smile, contact Appledore Dental Clinic Milton Keynes and you will start smiling more

Milton Keynes dentists why your tongue is burning

My Tongue Is Burning – What Does It Mean?

Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt your tongue burning? Like you just scalded it on hot coffee? Well, you’re not alone. Burning tongue is a fairly common thing, and can be caused by all sorts of things – from what you’ve been eating to more serious health conditions. The reasons for burning tongue (or gums/palate) can be difficult to pinpoint, especially if you’re experiencing more than one cause at a time. The best way to be sure is to make an appointment with your dentist. But until you can do that, we wanted to share with you a few of the causes behind ’burning tongue’ and what you can do to relieve them.

An Actual Burn 
This might seem really obvious, but the most common reason for a burning sensation in the mouth or on the tongue is that you’ve actually burnt your tongue. This is easier than you think to do, since the cells on your tongue will burn at around 45°C. So if you drink hot coffee over a long period of time, you can actually create a ‘cumulative burn’. It doesn’t help that the pain threshold of the tongue is only 47°C, so when you do burn it, you will really feel it. So if you like your drinks scalding hot, it might be worth letting them cool a bit before you drink them!

Dry Mouth 
Dry mouth is what it says on the tin – your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva to stay wet, and so you get that dry, sticky feeling known as ‘dry mouth’. This oral condition can be caused by a number of things, including diseases that affect the salivary glands, side effects of some medicines, natural hormonal changes or even just being dehydrated (as most of us are). Chronic dryness in the mouth can lead to a burning sensation on your tongue and a soreness in your mouth in general. If you get this sensation a lot, we recommend drinking more water and sucking on sugarless hard candies or chewing sugarless gum. This stimulates saliva production and can keep your mouth healthier.

Nutritional Deficiency 
Dryness in the mouth can also be caused by a lack of key nutrients in your body. Specifically, low levels of B vitamins and minerals including iron and zinc have been known to contribute to a burning sensation on the tongue. This one is the easiest to fix though – just eat a well-balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, nuts and healthy proteins. If you feel you’re eating well and still deficient, you can also try nutritional supplements.

Of course, the burning on your tongue could just be the cause of good old-fashioned irritation. Drinking too many sugary or acidic drinks, over-brushing your tongue, over-using mouthwash and eating spicy foods can all irritate the mouth tissues. This leads to that uncomfortable burning sensation, which is essentially your body’s way of saying ‘cut it out!’ Try cutting back on the sugary, acidic drinks and give your tongue a break from brushing for a while, and see if that clears it up. If it doesn’t, ask your dentist about your oral hygiene habits and whether they could be causing the irritation.

Many medications come with a mile-long list of side effects, and dryness is often on there. If you’ve recently changed or started a new medication and you’re noticing dryness and soreness in your mouth, it could well be a reaction. Go back to your doctor and let them know what’s happening. They may change your medication to eliminate the effect, or give you something to relieve the symptoms.

Oral / General Health Conditions 
The burning could also be caused by  underlying health issues. Things like oral thrush ( a fungal infection in the mouth) or geographic tongue (a condition that coats your tongue in a map-like surface). It could even be something completely unrelated to your mouth – like acid reflux, which causes stomach acid to splash up onto your vocal cords and sometimes into your mouth. If this acid gets onto your tongue, it can cause a minor burn and a lot of irritation. Luckily a dentist can diagnose the problem with a simple check-up, and if needed provide you with some options to reduce the discomfort.

If you’re experiencing any issues with your mouth, gums, palate or tongue, it’s always worth making an appointment with your dentist. They will be able to tell you the cause of your discomfort, and provide you with options to relieve it. They will also be able to give you tips to avoid it in the future, and can potentially diagnose some more serious health issues just by examining your tongue. If you’re concerned about your oral hygiene or just want a professional opinion, get in touch with  Appledore today and book your check-up.

To transform your smile, contact Appledore Dental Clinic Milton Keynes and you will start smiling more

Milton Keynes dentists why your tongue is burning