With the height of the summer upon us, people are enjoying the sun, the water and high temperatures. Of course, the summer season always features a lot of health-related warnings. We’re reminded to wear sunblock to avoid sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancers. The elderly are alerted to the dangers of heat stroke where oppressive heat meets insufficient air conditioning. And safety on the water, for both boaters and swimmers, is always emphasized.
But there’s one warning that’s missing: The warning about oral health during hot weather.
Huh? How does hot weather affect oral health?
Well, it doesn’t, strictly. In truth, your pearly whites do just fine in summer warmth. But you may be surprised to learn that certain behaviors common during the summer months can affect your mouth adversely. Hate to be negative, but here’s a short list of DON’Ts for oral health during summer’s hot weather.
- Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Why is this important? Because becoming dehydrated could lower your saliva production and give you dry mouth. Saliva is your friend. It helps to prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria that can cause tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Saliva even plays a role in stopping oral infections and repairing tooth enamel. It’s like a miracle elixir. Drink water all summer; your mouth will thank you.
- Don’t depend on water substitutes. Water is best for hydrating your system, but in summer we’re often drinking something else. Beverages like beer, soda, lemonade, and other drinks may have lots of moisture content, but they’re also full of sugar and acids. And those can hurt tooth enamel. Diet sodas, even though they don’t have sugar, can also be harmful because of acids that can weaken teeth. Drink more water and less of the other stuff, and rinse out your mouth and brush your teeth more often.
- Don’t chew ice. An ice cold drink, even a glass of ice water, can be hard on your mouth if you chew on the ice at the end. This is a habit that over time can put great stress on your teeth and lead to cracked enamel and broken teeth. You’ve been warned.
- Don’t make ice cream your default treat. Cool, refreshing and loaded with sugar that can cause tooth decay. Consume responsibly.
- Don’t forget to brush. Summertime, when the living is easy, seems to be a season when we let a lot of things slide. Habits that are part of our daily routines at other times seem less important. But brushing and flossing are all-season habits that yield great benefits. Keep at ’em.
- Don’t blow off your dental appointment. “Hey, I’m on vacation! Going to the dentist is like going to the principal’s office. It can wait, right?” Well, maybe. But if you get out of the scheduled routine of regular dental checkups, after a while you could have trouble brewing in that mouth of yours. Keep your date with your dentist.
Enjoy the season! In our practice we’re happy to see our patients during the summer or anytime. If you need to make an appointment for some overdue care, call us today.