Coca Cola lorry visits cause alarm 18-12-2017

As the countdown to Christmas continues, many of us are looking forward to the festive break. A chance to relax, celebrate, and indulge. The shops are filled with the latest gift ideas, and the television adverts are presenting countless opportunities for that perfect present for a special someone. Alongside all the present buying, many of us are preparing to host parties and celebration meals. Supermarkets are bursting at the brim with tasty treats. However, it would seem that this year, concern is beginning to be voiced about the potential impact of all these indulgences on our health.

One such treat that, whilst actually being available all year round, has more recently become associated with Christmas, is that of Coca Cola. Thousands make the trip into town centres each year, eager to catch a glimpse of the Coca Cola lorry made famous through their annual advert featuring their ‘holidays are coming’ Christmas slogan. However, alongside the lorry and the festive cheer this year, some visitors were keen to ensure that consumers thought carefully about their choice of Christmas treat. Action groups gathered to raise awareness about the impact on our health of consuming too many foods and drinks.

As reported by the BBC, concern has been raised by many individuals and groups across the country. As well as highlighting the links between such food and drink items and the ever-rising obesity level in the UK, groups were also concerned about the impact of sugar on our teeth and oral health.

Sugary foods and drinks, which are available in abundance at this time of year, are known to be a significant contributory factor in the onset and progression of tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when the protective outer layers of our teeth come under attack from acids, formed as a result of our consumption of sugary items. Over time, these acids wear away the outer layer and cause the formation of cavities (holes) in our teeth. As these cavities become deeper, they become more painful (as the nerves in our teeth are more exposed), and become more dangerous for our teeth. They could eventually lead to a tooth needed to be removed. Tooth decay can be further exacerbated by consuming sugary foods and drinks between meals: this increases the amount of time that our teeth are under attack from acids, and gives them less time to ‘remineralise’ and recover.

Whilst the early stages of tooth decay may have no symptoms, your dental team may be able to spot the signs that a problem is beginning, and may be able to support you with treating this, for example, by applying a fluoride varnish. However, as the decay worsens, you are likely to experience pain and discomfort, and may require fillings or, as mentioned above, tooth removal. However, there are many steps that you can take to prevent tooth decay from occurring:

  • Try to decrease the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume, and avoid having these as a snack in between meals.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. This should be once last thing at night, and on at least one other occasion in the day.
  • Ensure you reach the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth in your brushing.
  • ‘Interdental’ brushes, floss or tapes should be used to remove the plaques and food particles from between your teeth.
  • Ensure you keep up your regular dental check-ups.

So, as you prepare for the festive break, and finish off that Christmas shopping, it’s important to be mindful of how you will protect your health during this busy time. We’ll all want to indulge a little bit, but keeping an eye on our consumption of sugary foods and drinks with really support your oral health.

For an example article from the BBC, please see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-41810436