It’s full-on summer in Cleveland, Ohio, but what does that mean for your teeth? In many ways, summer is my favorite season. What’s not to like, really? You get to spend time outdoors with family and friends enjoying everything from some water fun to a good, old-fashioned barbecue, but how does the change of seasons affect the health your teeth?
“Summertime and the living is easy.”
That’s true for the most part. The days get longer and lazier, and for some people, that will mean a lapse in sound dental hygiene. It’s up to you to decide to go into this warm weather season to make your healthy smile a priority. You can develop some good habits and carry them along wherever summer takes you.
Start With a Focus on Good Hydration
Don’t make your go-to cool drink one full of sugar and chemicals, like soda. Many people don’t realize how much sugar is in these drinks, according to Dana Angelo White, a registered dietitian and assistant professor at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. There is a disconnect in our society about sugar, especially when it’s hidden in an icy cold beverage.
The problem isn’t just sodas, either. During the summer, people looking to ditch the soda might reach for a juice, lemonade or an electrolyte drink instead. From a dental health standpoint, they are not any better because they have high sugar contents as well. Sugar is food for the bacteria that live in your mouth. As they feed off it, these bacteria produce plaque that coats the teeth and gum and, if left unchecked, harden into tartar that will eventually cause cavities.
Water, on the other hand, it a more satisfying choice on a hot summer’s day and does the opposite of what a fruity drink full of sugar will do – it rinses your mouth, keeping it clean and fresh.
Eat Well, Too
Just because you are swearing off soda doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the occasional refreshing treat. Take advantage of the farmer’s markets all around town and stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Crunchy, fresh foods do more than cool you off; the right ones actually brush your teeth for you.
Think about what happens when you bite into an apple or cucumber? The tough skin works as a brush to scrape off any residue on the tooth enamel. Add some fresh, crunchy side dishes to each and every barbeque to help not just your waistlines but your teeth, as well.
If summer means family vacation, factor in a little dental care when making your plans. Start by getting everyone in the family to the dentist before you leave. Your Cleveland dentist can give their teeth a once over and fix any problems that might turn into a dental emergency that spoils your family fun.
This is a good time to get new tools for your dental travel bag, too, like a new toothbrush and a fresh roll of floss. Make sure to take a tube of fluoride toothpaste with you and pack some spares dental accessories in your carry on just in case you and your luggage end up in different vacation spots.
Plan for an Emergency
Summer is the time of bikes, diving boards, skateboards and ball tossing and, unfortunately, dental emergencies. The Academy of General Dentistry reports that pool-related accidents are the number one cause of dental emergencies during the summer. Keep that potential in mind no matter where you are whether it’s at home or on the road. Just ask yourself, “Is there an emergency dentist near me?” at each stop.
Summer is a great time, but don’t forget to protect your teeth this season whether you’re eating, drinking or enjoying the sun.