Cracking good season!

By Yvonne Vannoort, The Dentist

Holiday entertaining is upon us and that usually means plenty of food treats. However, some food items can fracture the fun not to mention your teeth too! So, if your teeth are heavily filled or are fragile, be forewarned, and just a little cautious!

Four foods to watch out for are hard nuts, pork crackling, peach, plum and cherry stones and chewy toffees – these have all been responsible for losing a filling, cracking a tooth or causing a chip right at the front of your smile!

Beware, too, of small bones in barbecue meat such as chops; if you catch a tooth which has a large filling, the filling could come out. Similarly, be careful of coins in the Christmas pudding! Remember, teeth are not tools – opening bottle tops with your front teeth is not a good idea, either. Also, be aware that dental accidents, which involve breaking teeth on food, are not covered under ACC.

Concerns about the amount of sugar Kiwis consume are not groundless and summer is often a sugar fest of fizzy drinks, sweets and desserts. So, try to take it easy and ensure children clean their teeth after lollies, juices and sweet drinks. Ensure children also drink some water after fizzy drinks.

Adults, too, should watch their sugar intake and go the extra distance when it comes to brushing and flossing. Avoid pitfalls that cause dental trauma and it’s sure to be a happy holiday. However, if you do have an accident involving teeth, register it with ACC as soon as possible.

Record the injury with your dentist and fill out the proper paperwork in case future treatment on the injured teeth is needed. Sometimes problems arise long after the accident and it is more difficult to then attribute the problem to an earlier injury and claim ACC.

If you have dental pain and need temporary relief before visiting a dentist, try oil of cloves on the tooth and adjacent gum.

Ibuprofen is a good medication for a toothache as long as your stomach can tolerate it; if not use paracetamol or codeine. If a tooth or filling breaks, leaving a sharp edge, try chewing gum over it to make it temporarily smooth to your tongue.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday season full of smiles, laughter and joy!

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