Summer is coming…and tooth decay may be just around the corner too. Here are some tips to keep your teeth looking and feeling their best while you beat the heat!
Summer means lazy days by the pool, barbecues on warm evenings, and sharing frozen treats with friends and family. Although your dentist would love to welcome you during any season, most would agree that summertime is best enjoyed away from the dentist’s chair. However, without proper care and preparation, the long holiday we all long for often includes increased risk of damage to your teeth.
The consumption of sugary, frozen goodies greatly increases during the summer months, and the rate of tooth decay climbs along with it. If you enjoy a refreshing ice cream bar, try to eat it after your meal and to gently rinse your mouth with some water after finishing. Many brands offer low-sugar or sugar-free varieties of their most popular treats that taste just as good as the originals! Do your best to go for these enamel-friendly options when you can, and to stay away from flavors with extra sneaky, sticky sugars like caramel.
Snacking the Day Away
Picnics and beach days can turn your daily meal routine into a day-long snackfest, continuously exposing your teeth to erosion and decay. Try to limit endless munching to give your teeth a break – rather than bringing the whole family size bag of chips to the park, pack individual size baggies before you head out of the house. Better yet, enjoy all the fresh, healthy fruits and veggies in season during the summer months that are packed with nutrients and vitamins necessary for strong teeth.
Beware of sipping too many fizzy drinks or sugary cocktails at block parties and cookouts as well. Not only are these loaded with calories that you’d rather use on that second hot dog, but they can wreak havoc on your teeth too! Try the 50/50 rule – for every sugary beverage you drink, follow it with a glass of water to make sure you’re properly hydrated and giving your mouth a rest.
While what goes in your mouth makes a big difference during the summer months, what goes on them is just as important! Make sure that in addition to your regular sunscreen, you’re using a lip balm that affords some protection from the sun. Check that your Chapstick of choice has an SPF of at least 15 – many of them do, and lip care can be an important and inexpensive step to help prevent oral cancer.
A few quick, easy changes in your lifestyle are all it takes to be confident in your oral health as you look ahead to those summer nights. Take advantage of your time off from work or school to spend a little extra time on your dental health, and have a happy, safe summer!