December is just around the corner, and the countdown to Christmas is officially on! We all know that the festive season is a hugely tempting time to indulge in sugary chocolate treats, which can play havoc with your teeth.

So, how do you enjoy some chocolate and look after your oral health at the same time?

We’ve put together five top tips to help you be kind to your teeth:

1. Choose dark chocolate

Swap your usual festive treats for dark chocolate this year. Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) is rich in antioxidants and contains less sugar than milk or white chocolate, so it will be less damaging to your teeth.

2. Eat chocolate all in one go

That’s right! Eat chocolate after your main meal for dessert. Don’t graze on chocolate constantly during the day, because every time you do this, harmful acids produced by the sugar in chocolate attack the enamel on your teeth. If you eat your chocolate all in one go, it minimises the time that sugar lingers on your teeth, meaning that it is less likely to result in tooth decay. The less time you spend exposing your teeth to acid, the better. Bear this in mind if you’re planning to have a lazy Boxing Day indulging in a selection box!

3. Stick to good oral hygiene habits

Over the Christmas holidays, you might have a break from your usual routine in favour of sleeping in, nights out, or trips away to stay with friends or family, but remember to look after your teeth. Make sure you still brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste – and wait at least 30 minutes after eating chocolate before brushing. This gives time for your enamel to re-harden after being softened by acids. If you were to brush your teeth straight after eating chocolate, you would risk harming the enamel further. Keep up other good oral hygiene habits too, such as flossing daily and chewing sugar-free gum.

4. Drink water after eating chocolate

Drinking water helps to wash away lingering chocolate on the teeth, and also increases the flow of saliva in the mouth, which in turn works to neutralise the harmful acids produced by the sugar in the chocolate you’ve just consumed. Drinking water has so many more health benefits too, such as increasing energy levels, improving digestion, helping blood circulation, flushing out toxins and boosting your skin complexion. It’s a win win!

5. Book an appointment with your dentist and hygienist at Honour Health

If you’re concerned about the effects of sugar on your teeth, come and see us for a dental health assessment and hygiene treatment. Your dentist will carefully check your teeth and gums, and your hygienist will carry out our state-of-the-art Airflow treatment to quickly, comfortably and effectively get rid of plaque and staining, revealing a healthier, brighter smile. Prevention is the key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums over Christmas – and all year round!

We have practices at Jesmond, Ponteland and Stanley – so choose whichever clinic is most convenient for you.