As summer gets underway, the oppressive heat can wreak havoc on our dental health. Dry climates and extreme heat can damage your teeth and surrounding tissues. High humidity causes excessive sweating and loss of hydration, also damaging oral tissues. Below are a list of some simple tips to keep you and your family healthy while having fun this summer.
Summertime Oral Care Tips
-Keep Hydrated. This helps stave off tooth decay and also protects your skin (lips) and gum tissues. Drink lots of water and stay away from sugary drinks. Lemonade is a summer favorite, but citric acid + sugar + dry mouth = tooth decay. Sucking on hard candies that are artificially sweetened or chewing on sugar-free gum (preferably xylitol) is ideal to help promote the production of saliva which can prevent tooth decay.
-Use Protection. Summer heat can cause dry, chapped lips. It is important to protect your lips with lip balm or lip gloss. Use products that provide moisture and SPF protection. It will also ward off possible skin cancer. Your lips are more susceptible to burning than most parts of your body, yet many people don’t even consider protecting them from the sun. Damage to the lips over an extended period of time can lead to skin cancer. Use a lip balm or lip gloss with an SPF of at least 15.
-Snack Wisely. A popular summer snack is fresh fruit. It is important to choose the right fruits to help your teeth. Watermelon is an excellent choice as it helps clean your mouth due to its high water content. On the other hand, citrus fruits are highly acidic and can cause tooth enamel erosion. If you choose citrus fruits, brush and rinse often to keep the acid from harming your teeth. Stay away from fruit gummies and roll ups as they will stick between the teeth and stay longer in a dry mouth causing in-between the teeth cavities.
-Humidify Your Home. To prevent our mouth and skin from drying out use a humidifier filled with distilled water. This will keep your lips from chapping and your mouth from drying out.
-Protect Your Teeth. Summertime includes playing outdoor sports. It is important to use a mouthguard for proper protection. Mouthguards are fairly inexpensive and can protect your teeth as well as your lips, cheeks, and gums. Wearing a mouthguard will also prevent grinding of teeth during play.
-Swim Wisely. Excessive swimming in a pool can erode and weaken our teeth. This is due to the high content of chlorine in most pools. On the other hand swimming in the ocean, can actually help decrease the oral bacteria. This is due to the oceans salt water content. If you choose swimming in a pool, remember to brush following swimming to limit damage from the pool’s chemicals.
–Pack healthy picnics/lunches. Try to limit sweets when you will be outdoors for an extended time. Chips are better than cookies, water is better than juice which is better than soda pop. Increase protein and decrease white carbohydrates. White carbs are broken down into sugars in the mouth immediately and can begin to break down enamel.
–Don’t Forget Breakfast. We tend to be a bit relaxed in the summer, but breakfast remains the most important meal of the day. When we skip breakfast we tend to snack on more unhealthy items throughout the morning. If you start with a healthy breakfast, and brush after, you won’t be tempted to cheat.
Summertime Smile Conclusion
Summertime presents its own challenges in maintenance of your smile. Understanding the above information can help you make good choices to help yourself and your family to get through summer cavity free. The above tips will help you to maintain your dental health while having a fun summer and continue your excellent dental health throughout the year.