Tis the season for imbibing...
Ahh, I mean - we're not encouraging it….We are merely acknowledging the fact that the time of year is almost upon us where people get a bit festive during the holidays with big family dinners, parties, employers start loosening the ol' purse strings to host end of year break-ups, and breweries, distilleries, vineyards and alike start rubbing their hands together because without a shadow of a doubt revenue is gonna sky-rocket!
But again - not encouraging over-indulgence. Just. Stating. Facts.
So what does this mean for your pearly whites that you have been so meticulously keeping clean, healthy and stain free all year?
Well, it's no lie - alcohol DOES stain teeth and creates a breeding ground for bad oral bacteria. But we're not here to rain on your parade, besides you have been working hard all year! Right!
So here are 3 items we feel you need in your purse to ensure your teeth remain healthy, squeaky clean and not a hue of crimson come January.
#1 A Straw
Be it a reusable straw or a handful of disposable ones - choose your tool and remember to use it!
Sugar levels in alcohol are high, not to mention the sugary mixers that go into some cocktails (i.e. cola, lemonade) The more sugar in your mouth the more bad bacteria will be present to consume the sugar. The by-product of this is acid. Acid will eat away at your teeth and cause decay. A straw creates a passage for your drink of choice to avoid hitting the teeth straight on.
Side note: Some beverages such as a good bottle of Cabernet need full mouth participation to be truly appreciated and yes, respected. In this case drink water to rinse the mouth between glasses.
#2 Sugar-Free Gum
Remember those Extra ads that would show some lady with exceptionally straight, white, beautiful teeth chewing on a stick of gum, making salvia production look really inviting... well, though a clever sales ploy (that worked!) they kind of had a point.
Dehydration. Alcohol will dehydrate your mouth. Your mouth needs to be moist to rinse the sugars off your teeth. And remember sugars = bad bacteria = acid = tooth decay! Drinking water between drinks is the best way to stay hydrated. However, the problem is the lack of moisture that alcohol creates in the mouth because it inhibits normal saliva production. A great way to promote saliva production is by chewing thus counteracting the drying effects of alcohol.
#3 Travel Toothbrush
You know those cute little ones you sometimes get on long-haul flights. They are a marvelous, compact tool to fight off stains.
We are not just talking about that delicious drop of red, this means any dark colored beverage - Jack and coke anyone? These drinks can really stain your teeth, especially if you already have damaged enamel.
Now we could suggest here to avoid darker colored beverages and opt for lighter ones such as white wine, white spirits, lemonade etc. However, as stated above "we’re not here to rain on your parade" ... so enter - Travel Toothbrush.
As well as following the good advice of cosmetic dentist Dr Lauren Becker:
"Routine cleanings at your dentist office in conjunction with brushing and flossing (best with an electric toothbrush, twice a day) are surefire ways to keep your teeth sparkling, no matter what you drink or eat. When you know you'll be drinking red wine, try to brush no more than an hour before indulging. Brushing too close to drinking wine can alter the taste (think: OJ in the morning after brushing!), but brushing too soon afterward can cause the acidic wine to penetrate the pores in your teeth and can actually erode the enamel,".
So here you have it ladies - your 3 must-have tools to put in your purse for optimum oral health through the crazy season.
Now, go forth and have fun!