Summertime Tips for Healthy Teeth
Ah, summertime! The days are longer, and time seems to slow down just a little bit. Allowing ourselves time to relax and enjoy is good for the soul. Still, we must be careful not to let our guard down too much when it comes to caring for our oral health. Here are just a few tips to help you stay on track while enjoying all the wonderful things that summer has to offer.
Stay on Routine
Routines, especially for children, are important. Many routines fall by the wayside in the summer. Bedtimes become later, and you might be letting your kids slide on daily baths. Oral care routines shouldn’t be one of the things you let slide. Be sure to keep their (and yours too!) oral care routine consistent by brushing and flossing at least twice daily. If you stick with this as normal and do this at the same time you are used to each day, it will be easier to stay consistent.
Watch Sugary Beverages
When the temperatures rise, we need to hydrate more often. It’s tempting to reach for an ice cold lemonade or soda, but water is really your best bet. Water helps to wash away any bacteria that can lead to plaque. If you do indulge in lemonade or soda, try using a straw. Since lemonade and sodas are acidic, this can help reduce the contact these beverages have with your teeth. Did you know that black and green teas naturally contain fluoride? Fluoride helps to strengthen your teeth, so maybe consider iced tea as a flavorful alternative if you’d rather not drink water. But be sure to drink it sugar-free to reap any benefits.
Safety While Swimming
Swimming is certainly a favorite summertime pastime. Dental safety doesn’t usually cross our minds when we think about swimming, but it probably should. Whether you and your family are taking a dip in the lake or ocean, or a pool, it is important to follow the general swimming safety rules of no running and no rough housing. Whether on a dock or pool deck, ground surfaces near water tend to become very slippery very easily. When you or your children are in the water, is best to swim away from structures like docks, ladders, or pool edges. Additionally, it is important to pay close attention to where you are jumping or diving into the water. All these dangers could potentially cause teeth damaging falls or bumps, in addition to other more serious injuries.
While many sports are played year-round, biking, in-line skating, skateboarding, and surfing (and their related injuries) tend to be more common in the summer. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends a mouthguard for all children and youth participating in any sports activities. While the recommendation is for children, it certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea for adults to protect their mouths with a guard as well.
Accidents tend to happen when we least expect them. It’s a good idea when packing up for an outing to make sure that you have an emergency kit – just in case. In addition to items such as band-aids, alcohol pads, gauze, and first aid tape that commonly come to mind when thinking about an emergency kit, think about your teeth too when putting yours together. Consider including an anti-inflammatory painkiller such as ibuprofen for oral pain and a small container of salt and a water bottle to be used for an oral rinse in the case of bleeding. If you or anyone in your family has any dental devices such as braces or a retainer, dental wax is a good idea to pack along as well. Don’t forget a card with your doctor and dentist’s contact information written on it as well as any insurance information.
It makes sense that many people would rather be outdoors in the summer instead of in a dental chair. Us too! However, preventative care is much easier and less costly than treatment once damage has been done. Do yourself a favor and keep up with your preventative care check-ups. If you or your children are due and need to make an appointment, please contact us here.