29 Jun 2018 Protecting Your Teeth this Summer
It’s easy to think of ways we need to protect our skin in the summer. What mother lets her kids go swimming without sun screen on? Sunscreen is a no-brainer but when do we think of protecting our teeth the same way? Obviously, our teeth don’t need sunscreen but our teeth still need protection in the summer. Sometimes we take our teeth for granted—until something painful happens. Here are a few ways to be mindful of your teeth for a summer of smiles.
Tip 1 Use a mouth guard.
The summer months provide many chances to be outside and active. If are participating in any activity with a potential impact and are wondering “should I use a mouth guard?” the answer is, yes! A mouth guard can protect both your teeth from breaking or chippings and can protect your tongue from injury as well. Whether you are playing soccer, trying out a new mountain biking trail, or skateboarding, wear a mouth guard. Custom-made mouth guards offer the most protection but even a cheap boil-and-bike mouth guard is better than nothing.
Tip 2 Beware of the pool.
Most pools contain chlorine. Chlorine keeps us safe in pools but can wear down tooth enamel if the chlorine level is too high. Other effects from high chlorine include yellow or darkened teeth, increased sensitivity, and even cracks. This may not seem like a big deal but damage can be permanent. If you have a pool in your backyard or swim daily in another pool, check the chlorine levels. It can only help you to be educated and informed.
Tip 3 Limit sugary drinks and treats.
Nothing says summer more than a tall, icy lemonade on a hot day. Sugary drinks and treat can be part of a balanced diet, but way too often, more sugar is consumed than some of the basic food groups! When your drink a soda, lemonade or sports drink, your mouth’s acidy level increases, making your teeth more prone to decay and gum disease. When sugary treats are consumed throughout the day, your mouth can stay in this stressed, acidic state for hours. Eat treats for special occasions, not part of every meal and snack. Find ways to limit the sugary treats your kids eat. When you can, rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking treats. It’s easy to do and will help protect your teeth. Brushing is great, too. Overall, the best drink for your teeth is water.
Tip 4 Be mindful of frozen treats.
Frozen treats like snow cones contain ice as well as sugar. Chewing ice can cool off your mouth but is bad for teeth. Chewing something as hard as ice can chip or crack your teeth.
Tip 5 Avoid chewing on non-edible things.
Chewing on something non-edible like a pen or the tip of your sunglasses can chip or crack a tooth. Some people use teeth to open packages and to tear things off packaging. Remember, your teeth were designed for food only. Using them on harder things can damage them and can lead to needing emergency dental care.
Tip 6 Stick to your oral hygiene routine.
In the summer you need your oral hygiene routine even more than at other times. If you can brush 2-3 times a day and floss daily, your teeth will be much better able to counteract the sugary snacks of summer. Even though you may be going to festivals, boating, or vacationing, don’t forget to brush.