Summertime has arrived! The sun is shining, the days are becoming hotter and longer, and chances are, your summer vacation is just around the corner. Although the warmth of summer brings a different kind of seasonal comfort, it can also disrupt our usual routines, including our dental care habits. In fact, dentists typically notice a rise in tooth decay and cavities during this season.
To make sure that your teeth remain healthy and sparkling throughout the summer, consider these oral health tips tailored for this time of the year.
As the temperature rises, our bodies perspire more, needing increased hydration to replenish lost fluids. While it may be tempting to reach for sugary beverages like an ice-cold lemonade, sodas, or sweet tea to quench your thirst, these choices can actually dehydrate you faster and harm your oral health. When you drink sugary beverages, the bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar and produce acid that erodes your teeth, leading to cavities. Even seemingly healthy drinks like juices and smoothies normally contain high levels of sugar.
If you have a hard time drinking or choosing water, try to limit your consumption of sugary drinks or go for low-sugar alternatives like milk, unsweetened teas, or unsweetened sparkling waters. If you do decide to indulge in sweetened beverages, you can protect your teeth by drinking them more quickly instead of sipping them slowly. Sipping sugary drinks over an extended period prolongs the exposure of sugar to your teeth, creating a feast for the bacteria in your mouth.
In addition to avoiding sugary drinks, there are certain foods that can have a negative impact on your oral health. It’s best to eat these foods in moderation or avoid them altogether. Take a look at this list of foods that are particularly harmful:
People tend to become more active during the summer months. Whether you’re participating in a summer sports league such as soccer, beach volleyball, or softball, or engaging in activities like rock climbing or cycling, it’s important to protect your teeth while engaging in summer sports.
The most effective way to protect your mouth while playing sports is by wearing mouthguards and helmets. Helmets should always be fitted properly to provide optimal protection. For high-impact sports like football, helmets are particularly important in reducing the risk of injuries. Regardless of the sport you choose, mouthguards are the most essential piece of safety equipment for protecting your teeth. They effectively prevent chipped teeth, broken teeth, and even complete tooth loss.
Maintain good oral health by protecting your lips! The skin on your lips is thinner and contains less melanin, making them more susceptible to sunburn and sun damage on sunny days. Prolonged exposure to the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer on the lips.
Protect your lips from the sun by using sunscreen lip balm. Look for products with a minimum SPF of 15. SPF lip balms are specifically formulated to provide sun protection for your lips and can be easily applied for regular use.
Have you ever found yourself absentmindedly chewing on the leftover ice after finishing a refreshing, ice-cold beverage on a hot summer’s day? Chewing on ice is a popular habit that can have negative consequences for your oral health. Here are some potential problems associated with chewing ice:
If you have a craving for ice, consider going for softer alternatives like a popsicle. But, don’t forget to go easy on the sugar!
Regular visits to the dentist are important for keeping your mouth healthy. Even when you are busy enjoying yourself during the summer, it’s essential to stay committed to your dental appointments.
During your visit, you can expect a checkup and thorough cleaning. Dallas Dental Wellness uses specialized dental tools and equipment to ensure thorough cleaning, reaching even the most tough-to-reach areas of your mouth. We will also check for cavities and signs of gingivitis, offering professional advice on effective oral hygiene practices to keep your mouth in great shape.
If you have any questions regarding your oral health or would like to schedule an appointment, please feel free to call your Dallas dentist at 214-396-7876.
“How Sweat Works: Why We Sweat When We’re Hot, as Well as When We’re Not,” Houston Methodist Leading Medicine, https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/aug/how-sweat-works-why-we-sweat-when-we-are-hot-as-well-as-when-we-are-not/
“Sugars and dental caries,” World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sugars-and-dental-caries
“Erosion: What You Eat and Drink Can Impact Teeth,” American Dental Association, https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/all-topics-a-z/dietary-acids-and-your-teeth
“Keeping your mouth safe while playing sports,” Oral Health Foundation, https://www.dentalhealth.org/keeping-your-mouth-safe-while-playing-sport
“Chew on This: Ice Crunching and Your Teeth,” Colgate, https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/adult-oral-care/chewing-ice#