Protecting Your Teeth in the Summer

By June 29, 2015 Dental Tips No Comments
Football Player

Summer is a busy time of year. Between going to the beach, vacationing, and hanging out with friends, little things like oral hygiene can slip your mind. With the shift of schedule for many people, old routines may be interrupted, leading to forgetting to floss or brush your teeth as often as you should. We’re here to remind you how important oral health is and give you a few tricks to stay on top of your game this summer!

If you’re playing sports, protect yourself AND your teeth!

Even if you aren’t playing a full-contact sport like football, you still need to take care of your teeth when it comes to more casual summer sports.

When you swim, you are exposing yourself to water that has chemicals in it. If you are a frequent swimmer (more than six hours/week), you may be at risk. Pool water can break down natural proteins in your mouth and form deposits on your teeth, most commonly your front teeth. These “swimmers’ calculus” can be best taken care of by a general professional dental cleaning.

Casual summer sports like soccer or softball are fun and a great way to get outside and enjoy the weather, but they can also be dangerous if you aren’t careful. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, soccer players are actually more likely than football players to get a dental-related injury – and that doesn’t even include statistics from pickup games.

Because pickup games don’t require you to wear mouthguards or face masks, people generally don’t think about it. Going without increases your odds for mouth and face injuries and puts you at risk for a costly injury – making a mouthguard your best bet for a new teammate. Ask your dentist about which mouthguard best suits you!

Moderation is key when it comes to sweets!
Summer is the perfect time to treat yourself to some ice cream or to have a slushie on a hot day, but you still have to be aware of the sugar you are consuming! Though summer and sweet snacks seem to go hand-in-hand, you still have to take care of your teeth.

Foods with high sugars, like ice cream, can cause cavities, plaque and loss of enamel if you don’t properly clean your teeth. Bacteria loves sugar and can turn it into acid that strips away the enamel on your teeth, causing sensitivity, deposits, and discoloration. Visit your dentist this summer to get your teeth cleaned thoroughly so you can enjoy the rest of your summer worry free!

Snack wisely!
Fruit is one of the best summer snacks available – with fresh, delicious fruit in season, why wouldn’t you pick some up to snack on? While having fruit for a snack is a healthy option, some fruits may have acids in them that can erode your enamel. The culprits are pretty obvious – citrus fruit. Citrus are very acidic, so if you eat them often, be careful. Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth after eating them so the acid they leave behind doesn’t harm your teeth. If you think your enamel may be at risk of erosion, visit your dentist!

Stay away from the ice!
There are some hot days when it seems as if you can’t escape the heat. You’ve tried everything – turning the A/C up, closing the shades, and turning the fan on – but you just can’t cool down. Your next idea is to get some ice and try to cool yourself from the inside out, but that’s one idea that shouldn’t be made into a reality.

Chewing on ice seems harmless – it’s just water, right? But it’s not. Chewing on ice, or anything that isn’t food that’s meant to be chewed, can be really hard on your teeth. It can cause any type of injury from hurting your jaw from chewing too hard, or increased sensitivity on your teeth due to the temperature of the ice. Maybe try some ice water instead!

Don’t forget about your lips!
You use your mouth all the time, but many people tend to forget that their lips are actually more susceptible to burning than most other parts of your body. If your lips get burned, they will be chapped and it will be painful to do much of anything, so protect yourself! Wear an SPF-enhanced lip balm or chapstick of at least SPF 15, and remember to reapply it after eating or taking a dip in the water!

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