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Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

Summer is finally here! As the weather begins to heat up, most of us spend more time participating in outdoor activities. Different activities like Tennis, horseback riding, basketball, and swimming. As we have all of this fun, there are a few precautions one should take to protect their oral health. Protecting yourself will make the summer safer and much more fun.

Summer Smile Protection Tips

1. Sports Mouthguards – As we do more physical activities, we need to think about our teeth, just like our skin needs protection from the sun, our teeth need protection from trauma. Approximately 40% of all sports related injuries involve the head, more precisely, the face.Having your dentist fabricate a custom made athletic mouthguard, will decrease your risk of tooth loss from trauma significantly. Research has also shown that these athletic mouthguards can also lower the risks of a concussion, as well as, enhance your athletic performance by helping maintain airway and more efficient breathing.

2. Sports Drinks – Sports drinks (like gatorade) have become extremely popular beverages even for non athletes, but they can also be damaging to our smiles. Most sport drinks contain a high content of sugar and are highly acidic. Consumption of too many sports drinks can lead to tooth decay and tooth enamel erosion. If you choose to drink sports drinks during activity, keep a limit on them, drink plain water in between, and practice proper oral hygiene to keep the acids and sugars from attacking your teeth. Remember, sport drinks are made to replace what your body loses during extreme sweating and exertion, they are not meant to be a beverage consumed with lunch. Use them properly and you will not suffer the damage that they can incur.

3. Drinking Water – Water is great for your body, skin,and your teeth. Choose pure water with no added flavors or carbonation and you will not have to worry about demineralizing your teeth, many of the additives can cause tooth enamel breakdown. Water can also help by flushing away food particles and bacteria, keeping your mouth clean and fresh. The simple act of drinking water helps to maintain oral hygiene.  Maintaining good oral hygiene also includes proper brushing, flossing, and use of an antibacterial mouthrinse. Following a good oral hygiene program should always include staying properly hydrated. The best part about water is you can drink it any time with no side effects. It is truly the perfect drink for your entire body.

4. Swimming and chlorine- Swimming in your pool is a great way to exercise and spend time with your family and friends. The swimming pool contains chlorine, a very hazardous chemical, which can cause damage to your teeth even when levels are properly monitored.  Spending a lot of time in a pool with poorly maintained chemical levels can cause permanent damage to your teeth’s enamel. Water that is over chlorinated (such as many community pools) may cause tooth enamel erosion and  permanent staining of teeth. The tooth surface is directly affected by harsh chemicals, such as acid, causing the enamel to erode, thin, breakdown, and stain. When there are high levels of chlorine in the pool, the water becomes more acidic. Continuous exposure to acid can cause the damage to begin and subsequently progress.

5. Chewing Gum - Chewing a sugar free gum containing xylitol is a great way to protect your teeth. Gum chewing helps to increase the production of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps keep the mouth neutral, or balanced. The addition of xylitol to the saliva helps this balance at another level.  Xylitol  cannot be converted to acids by oral bacteria, so it helps to maintain a proper alkaline/acid balance in your mouth. Chewing gum also helps satisfy your snacking desire, which may be a great way to decrease the intake of junk food snacks for you and your children.

Conclusion

We all look forward to Summer and enjoying the great weather. Now it is time to enjoy it fully, without suffering from it for the rest of the year. Be aware of the hazards, and be prepared for you and your family. Taking care of you and your family will make this the best summer yet!  Have a happy, healthy summer!

We all have heard the old saying, “We are what we eat”, but did you know it is just as important for your teeth as it is your body? Your choice of drink has a big impact on your waistline as well as your dental health. Most of the focus regarding the consumption of sugary soft drinks, sport drinks, and fruit juices surrounds obesity and diabetes. It is important to realize that these same drinks can contribute to tooth decay and possibly dental pain if untreated.

The average American consumes over 50 gallons of soda and other sweetened drinks each year. Statistics show that almost 20 percent of all children under the age of 19 have untreated cavities. The sweetened soft drinks and the like are wreaking havoc on our dental health. They work by constantly washing your mouth with sugar and acid allowing for the perfect acidic environment and constant supply of sugar for the bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria then produce more acids that lead to tooth decay by dissolving the enamel that protects our teeth. Sugar also dries your mouth out and makes you thirstier, causing you to drink much larger sized beverages to satisfy your thirst.

Worst Drinks for Your Dental Health

Soft Drinks

The most obvious of the bad drinks for you. This is probably not new information to anyone. Soft drinks are bad for you for two reasons. One is the sugar, but the other is the acidity. Carbonated drinks like Coke and Pepsi use phosphoric acid in their ingredients (Mountain Dew and Sprite use citric acid). The acid breaks down the enamel in our teeth. The enamel is the outer protective layer of our teeth and it also gives us an attractive, shiny smile.

Sports Drinks 

These drinks include Gatorade, flavored water, as well as others. These drinks are not acidic like soda but these come with a double does of sugar. Most of these drinks are great for their intended purpose…recovery from activity. These drinks are

Sports Drinks Marielaina Perrone DDS

Change Drinking Habits for Better Dental Health

generally not used for their intended purpose of severe re hydration, they are consumed as a regular beverage. Over time, when too often consumed, they can easily stain your teeth and cause tooth decay.

Fruit and Energy Drinks

Fruit drinks, and beverages like red bull, also pose a threat to your pearly whites. These drinks are also damaging to your teeth and need to be used in moderation as well. Fruit drinks like Hawaiian Punch and Sunny Delight are nearly as acidic as Coca-Cola. Combine the acid levels with the sugars already in the ingredients and you have a recipe for catastrophe.

How to Minimize the Damage from These Beverages

-Brushing. Tooth brushing after every meal is the best way to decrease the chance of developing tooth cavities.

-Rinsing. Swish your mouth out with water after drinking these beverages can help decrease the amount of acid contacting the teeth.

-Chew Gum. Chewing sugar-free gum or xylitol gum will also help minimize the damage caused by these drinks by increasing saliva production.

-Drink at Mealtime. Drink sugary and acidic beverages with meals, and never before bedtime unless you plan to brush your teeth before heading to bed.

-Use a straw. This also helps decrease contact of these sugars and acids with the teeth.

-Other drinks that contribute to tooth decay (sugary, acidic, or both): dairy milk, soy milk, energy drinks, protein shakes, wine, beer, tea, coffee, smoothies, all fruit juices, some bottled waters.

Conclusion

Yes, we are what we eat! Be smart about what you choose for yourself and for your family. Many health issues can be circumvented by choosing healthier options and using your educated judgement to make the best choices. Use sweet drinks in moderation, and take care of your dental hygiene in between drinks. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings for better dental health.