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Posted by: The Probe 29th November 2017
The irony of the festive season is that during the most sociable time of the year, when people naturally want to look and feel their very best, they will often find themselves eating and drinking more and exercising less. If they have any bad habits that they know they should quit, like smoking, this is likely to be postponed until New Year, with only a transient flicker of guilt.
Pre-Christmas, speedy ways to drop a few pounds scream out from all over the media – presumably, so people can put them all back on (and then some) over the fortnight or so of overindulgence. Even if someone didn’t need to lose weight before slipping into their party outfit, social gatherings will be full of tempting high-fat, high-sugar options. One popular supermarket brand of all-butter mince pies contains an eye-watering 24.8g of sugar per pie, plus 8.5g of fat. If they drink alcohol, consumption will go up over Christmas, when it is perfectly acceptable to accompany said mince pie with a glass of something alcoholic and not long after breakfast, either. Post-party hangovers are soothed with comfort food, and it may be hard to resist the ‘festive’ beverages released by high-street coffee chains to celebrate the season, often loaded with whipped cream and flavoured with syrup.
None of this is great news for oral health either, although for UK adults, feeling unhappy about the state of their teeth is certainly not just for Christmas. According to a survey from earlier in the year, 48 per cent are embarrassed about their teeth, with discolouration being the main reason for their unhappiness. Dark drinks, such as mulled wine can stain the teeth, as well as cola, coffee and tea. Similarly, as alcohol is a diuretic, one of the most noticeable after-effects of overindulgence is dehydration. This can lead to oral discomfort as well as malodourous breath. Some drinks, such as strong spirits that often get enjoyed at Christmas, like port, have a more noticeable smell than others and linger in the mouth long after the party has finished.
When your patients are attending festive events, a clean, fresh smile makes a great first impression. A genuine, or Duchenne smile, which raises the cheeks as well as the corners of the mouth, makes everyone look more attractive and approachable. It can establish relationships – both platonic and romantic – and therefore plays a crucial role in social bonding. If an individual can smile naturally and with full confidence, it also triggers the release of endorphins that can help to bust any Christmas-related stress.
January has long been associated with committing to positive resolutions that will improve our health, drawing a line in the sand and making a fresh start. Smoking cessation campaigns certainly get a boost when the temptations of the party season are over and many people begin a crusade to start exercising more. The Dry January campaign is now well established and has had the support of Public Health England since 2015. According to the charity Alcohol Concern, five million Brits pledged to temporarily abstain from alcohol in January 2017.
For dental professionals, who are trying to improve their patients’ oral health for 12 months of the year, changes are needed that will last through the build up to party season and beyond. These changes may be small, but they will be significant and have the potential to improve general health too. For example, at a party, alternating a glass of red wine with one or two of water not only helps prevent tooth staining but might also ease the impact of a hangover. Choosing vegetable crudités can help patients to feel full and also prevent grazing on less-healthy options. The impact of smoking on oral health is well documented and backed up by a huge body of literature; if an individual wants to wait until January before getting serious about quitting, practitioners have a key role in fully supporting their efforts, alongside their GP, by helping them to access cessation services when the time comes.
Ensure their daily oral health routine is working as hard as it can to protect against decay and malodourous breath. Check their brushing technique is correct and recommend that they supplement good brushing with a scientifically proven mouthwash. CB12 White not only rinses away debris and effectively neutralises oral malodour, but its patented formula also lifts tooth stains and prevents new ones from developing. When used twice a day for two weeks, your patients will see an improvement in the appearance of their smile, as well as enjoying the reassurance of pleasant smelling breath.
Whether you enjoy the festive season, or cannot wait until it is over, you can help your patients to make positive changes to face it with confidence. If you offer a long-term solution to improve their smile, they will start 2018 full of optimism, too.
For more information about CB12 White and how it could benefit your patients, please visit www.cb12.co.uk
Oral Health Foundation. National Smile Month, Facts and Figures. Link: http://www.nationalsmilemonth.org/facts-figures/ (accessed October 2017)
Alcohol Concern, Dry January: our story. Link: https://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/Pages/FAQs/Site/dry-january/Category/dry-january-story (accessed October 2017).
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