The following article first appeared in Chinese in the February 7, 2013 issue of the Lianhe Zaobao newspaper. For the benefit of those who missed the article, or who cannot access the publication in Chinese, we have summarized the content of the article below.
Pineapple Tarts, Bak Kwa and sunflower seeds are some of the food that people enjoy during the Chinese New Year, and probably one of the reasons that people look forward to the festivities. However, do be careful not to let the sweetness in your mouth during the festive season turn into pain as these foods may be a trap to a healthy mouth.
Lianhe Zaobao (Lohas) interviewed Dr Ho Kok Sen, Dental Specialist in Oral & Maxillo-Facial Surgery at Specialist Dental Group. According to Dr Ho, there is usually a 25-50% increase in the number of patients who consult dentists after the Chinese New Year celebration.
Two Categories of Dental Issues
Over consumption of Chinese New Year goodies with high concentrations of sweet and sticky food, carbonated drinks, chewy sugary food, sunflower seeds and nuts, may result in dental problems.
Common dental issues include dislodged fillings, fractured teeth and even wisdom teeth problems. The two main categories of problems are fractured teeth and gum or periodontal diseases.
Dr Ho Kok Sen explains, “During this time of the year, people eat a lot of sweets and are chewing harder foods than their usual diet. This may cause tooth fractures or tooth sensitivity. In addition, during the Lunar New Year, when people often stay up late, the lack of sleep and reduced water consumption may burden the body, so there is a possibility that this may result in temporomandibular pain, headaches, neck pain and discomfort.”
During Lunar New Year, everyone eats and drinks continuously in a social setting. When the teeth do not have any rest, the acidity level is retained in the mouth, resulting in harm to the teeth. This is more damaging than the effect from having one meal.
Many dental problems do not happen overnight. Regular check-ups with the dentist every six months can help in detecting issues early on. Otherwise, when one is unaware of existing dental problems, then these New Year dishes can easily become a fuse to worse problems.
Food That are Tough and High in Sugar
There are a lot of food temptations during Chinese New Year – which food is a “sweet trap”? There are usually two types of food: hard food and high sugar food.
According to Dr. Ho, “Nuts and meat are hard and difficult to chew, and if the tooth has a lot of fillings, or tooth decay (dental caries), it will be easier to damage the teeth. Eating food that contains high sugar levels without good brushing will easily lead to tooth decay.”
Practice of Good Oral Care during this Chinese New Year :
- Drink More Water
- Brush Your Teeth and Gargle Often
- Rest Well
- Drink Less Sweet drinks and Carbonated Soda
- Have lesser snack in between meals