Summer is finally here! It’s time for cookouts, swimming pools and lots of sunshine; it’s time to make memories that last a lifetime. These are typically the things people think of when they think of summer. While summer is the time for relaxation, it is also important to not neglect your teeth, gums and mouth. To make sure that one of your memories isn’t an emergency trip to the dentist, here are a few tips to help you have fun in the sun, while keeping your teeth and mouth healthy.
Swimming Pool Safety
Did you know that taking a dip in the pool can have an effect on your smile? Research has shown that if you are exposed to the chemicals in swimming pools for long periods of time, the chlorine can discolor your teeth. A high pH level in the water breaks down the proteins in your saliva, which stains your teeth a brownish color. If the pH balance is high in the pool, the water can also soften tooth enamel putting you at an increased risk of tooth decay and damage. Fortunately, you can prevent this with regular dental cleanings and fluoride treatments. It is also important to wear goggles when swimming, because swimming with your eyes closed means you could swim into the side of the pool, face first and damage your teeth.
Summertime Foods & Beverages
You’re probably planning on hosting and/or attending a lot of summer parties and barbecues, which means there will be lots of party foods, including sugary treats and other foods that can harm your teeth. Summertime drinks, such as sports drinks, lemonade, soda and alcoholic beverages contain sugars and acids that can soften tooth enamel. Although it is important to brush, these drinks soften the enamel and brushing while the enamel is soft can actually cause more damage, so it’s best to wait at least an hour before brushing. Certain foods, such as corn-on-the-cob and bone-in meats can also injure teeth, so you should consider removing the corn from the cob and the meat from the bone before eating, and keep some floss on hand for times it’s not possible to brush. It’s difficult to completely avoid all the sweets that come with summer, but remember moderation is key, so limit your consumption of candies and ice cream.
Protect Your Teeth
The first thing many kids as well as adults want to do when summer arrives is to get out and ride bikes, scooters, skateboards and off road vehicles. Unfortunately, tooth trauma resulting from falls is a common occurrence during the summer, so it is extremely important to wear a helmet, but it is also important to use a mouth-guard to protect your teeth. Another common way people end up with a chipped or broken tooth is from using their teeth as tools. While it may seem like a quick solution to use your teeth to open bags, wrappers or bottles, it can do significant damage to your teeth and gums. Use appropriate tools-not your teeth.
The most important summertime tip to keep in mind is to not steer away from your regular oral hygiene habits. It is important to brush your teeth at least twice each day, especially before bedtime, floss at least once each day and only drink water after brushing your teeth before bedtime. Before leaving for vacation and getting busy with the kids and events, make sure to visit your dentist for a cleaning and examination as soon as possible to help keep teeth and gums healthy throughout the summer.
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Posted in: Cosmetic Dentistry, dentists, General Dentistry, Hygiene, Oral Care, Restorative Dentistry