Protecting Your Teeth and Mouth During SummerSummer is here. It is a favourite time of year for most people. It is a time when people relax, let loose, enjoy vacation getaways or family fun outdoor activities like camping, picnics, boating and summer sports. Schools and universities are closed so families with school age children or children attending universities welcome time together when they get to enjoy warmer temperatures.

Summer might be the favourite time of the year for indulging in fun and sun, but it is also a time when dentists see an increase in dental problems. It is also a time when normal routines are sometimes forgotten or ignored.

Seasonal foods and activities can damage your teeth if you are not careful. We want to give you a few tips to make sure you protect your teeth and mouth and keep them healthy while still enjoying the many summer activities.

Maintain Your Oral Hygiene Routine. Brush And Floss Regularly, Regardless Of Where You Are

During the summer when the kids are out of school, it’s typical for your routine to fall to the wayside a bit. Brushing your teeth during outdoor activities is often inconvenient and therefore ignored. However, routines you cannot ignore are brushing your teeth 2-3 times per day and flossing your teeth at least once daily as these are essential for your overall health and well-being. Force yourself to make time for dental hygiene!

Floss and flossing is more likely to be forgotten than any other product and routine. No matter how much you are enjoying yourself and believe you do not have time to floss, this is a routine you cannot ignore. Summer foods are delicious but grilled meats, corn on the cob, hot dogs at the ballpark, leave behind stubborn food particles. If you do not floss and remove those particles, these small particles can wedge along the gum line and lead to infection and decay. It is highly recommended that you have some floss in your pockets or purse and pull it out after every BBQ to remove those bits of food.

Rinse Your Mouth After A Swim

Most people who swim, do not even think of it. They shower after spending time in a chlorinated pool but do not even think to take time to rinse their mouth with clean water. Remember chlorine is acidic and can dry out your mouth. If you spend extended amounts of time in the pool, it is important to try and swim with the mouth closed and even if you do, to prevent acid erosion, it is safer to rinse your mouth with clean water every time after swimming.

Remember, Your Teeth Are For Chewing Food. Do Not Use Them As A Tool Box

Many people have an unpleasant habit of using teeth as a tool box. They use them for cutting fishing lines, opening bottles, and other outdoor tasks. This is a recipe for disaster. The consequences of using teeth as tools are `hairline` or micro cracks that are hard to see, but will lead to problems in the future. Often, it causes chipped, fractured or broken tooth. Next time you need to open a package or bottle, use your hands and tools, not your teeth!

Don’t Chew Ice!

During the really hot summer days, it is comforting to chew on ice but do not do it. Chewing on ice can lead to cracked and chipped teeth, damage to tooth enamel, problems with existing dental work such as fillings and crowns, and sore jaw muscles. You may also find your teeth become extremely sensitive to hot and cold drinks and foods, and are more prone to cavities.
Eating crushed ice is also not a good idea. Finely crushed ice is less damaging than crunchy cubes, but then it has sugary syrup which can accelerate tooth decay.
If you have to indulge in chewing crushed ice, indulge infrequently and always go for healthier alternatives

Eat Sweets And Candy, Especially Hard Ones, In Moderation And With Caution!

Ice creams, slushies and sodas are refreshing to enjoy during the hot summer. No wonder all these are summer barbecue favourites. Unfortunately, these things are filled with added sugars which can cause cavities, plaque buildup and loss of enamel. The bacteria in your mouth love sweets, which is converted into acids that can strip away the enamel of your teeth and cause sensitivity issues. Be cautious with the amount of intake of ice cream and sodas and make it part of your meal. Brush or rinse after you eat or drink something sweet, or chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes to reduce tooth decay.

Cutting back on candy, especially the hard, sticky ones, is the advice dentists give throughout the year, but the advice is particularly relevant during the summer months when salt water taffy and cracker jacks are found at the fairs. These are sticky, sugary snacks which can stick between teeth or even make teeth loose. If you wear dentures or braces, you should avoid these snacks completely.

Say No To Sugary Or Acidic Drinks And Say Yes To More Water

During the summer months, it is easy to reach for sweet teas, lemonades and sports drinks to stay hydrated. Water does the job without damaging your teeth. The seasonal favourite drinks contain three times more citric acid when compared to most sodas frequent consumption could break down the tooth enamel, and therefore putting you at greater risk of tooth decay. If you do indulge in the seasonal drinks, drink it quickly, use a straw and immediately rinse your mouth with water.

Protect Your Mouth And Teeth During Sporting Activities

If you like to participate in outdoor summer activities like kayaking, hiking, rock-climbing, it is important to go well-prepared and you use proper protection to safeguard your mouth and teeth. That includes wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle, playing football, or other similar activities. Mouth guards are fairly inexpensive and it is always better to get a custom fit mouth guard to provide the best possible comfort and protection for your teeth while playing summer sports. Would you not rather take the time for protecting your mouth and teeth, rather than end up toothless!

Do Not Forget The Lip Balm With An SPF Of At Least 15

Protecting your lips from the sun is equally important to protecting the rest of your body, especially since they are more susceptible to burning than other parts of the body. A quick application of lip balm will go a long way in protecting your lips from the sun’s harmful rays.