With spring in full swing and summer not far away, people are enjoying the weather by spending more time outdoors and planning trips to make the most out of the warmer seasons.
Did you know that as the seasons change, your oral health can change, too? Whether there are freezing or scorching temperatures, your smile is affected by these changes and the activities that come with each time of year.
As the summer approaches, here’s what you should know about taking care of your teeth in the warmer weather to support a beautiful and healthy smile all season long!
While the truth is that you can become dehydrated at any time, the risk for dehydration increases in the summer.
It’s important to stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day, particularly if you have an outdoor occupation, exercise outdoors, or are at greater risk for dehydration. Elderly individuals, infants and children, and people with chronic illnesses are more at risk to become hydrated.
When you’re dehydrated, your smile, as well as your body, suffers. Your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva when you’re dehydrated, which can lead to an imbalance of bacteria that can cause enamel erosion. People with dry mouth are also more likely to experience tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
Beware of Summer Drinks
Summer drinks tend to contain lots of sugar which can be damaging to your oral health. Whether you’re at a barbeque drinking lemonade or by the pool drinking soda, your teeth and gums are affected.
Alcohol and sports drinks are also corrosive and damaging to teeth. Sports drinks tend to contain a lot of sugar while alcohol is acidic. Don’t be fooled by diet sodas they can be just as harmful to your tooth enamel as regular soda.
When you combine sugary and acidic drinks with dry mouth, bacteria have more of an opportunity to destroy tooth enamel. It’s also important to never chew on ice as it can fracture your teeth.
There are plenty of fresh, healthy summer foods you can eat to replenish your water supply and still enjoy summer, such as watermelon, berries, salad, and tea. Your best bet is to stick to water when it comes to drinking!
Know That Pool Water Can Stain Your Teeth
Did you know there’s research showing that more than six hours of swimming in a pool per week increases your risk of teeth staining?
Swimming in a pool exposes teeth to water that has chemicals in it, which can cause tooth discoloration, especially on the front teeth. Fortunately, the study also showed that proper oral care decreased the risk of staining, as did avoiding foods that can stain teeth including coffee and wine.
If you love swimming and swim more than six hours a week, you might consider getting professional cleanings more often with your dentist to reduce the risk of discoloration to your pearly whites!
Protect Sensitive Teeth
If you have sensitive teeth, you know just how much cold foods like ice cream, popsicles, and even drinks with ice can hurt your smile. These foods and drinks are all too common in the summer months!
Sensitive teeth, while common, are usually a sign that your tooth enamel has been damaged, so always follow up with your dentist in Asheville to determine what’s causing your sensitivity and what can be done about it.
In the meantime, you can protect your teeth by using a straw for cold drinks and using caution when eating very cold foods!
Take Care While on Vacation
With many people taking vacations during the summer months, it can be easy to fall out of your regular habits. However, it’s important to stick to your oral care routine as much as possible while on vacation. Pack extra toothbrushes just in case someone forgets theirs, and don’t forget the floss!
It’s also a good idea to know where emergency dentists are when you’ll be away, especially in a different city or country, so keep a list with you. If you’ll be camping, having a dental emergency kit is an even better idea. Don’t take a vacation from your oral care remember, tooth decay and gum disease won’t take a vacation from harming your smile!
Watch Out for Tooth Injuries
In the warmer months, people are more likely to be doing outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, summer sports, and exercising, so there’s an increased risk of injury to your teeth.
Remember that small injuries that don’t seem like a big deal now can get worse, especially with repeated harm.
Even if it’s a small chip or crack in your tooth, you might not realize the pain until hours, days, or even weeks after the injury. It’s important to always wear a mouthguard when applicable and to make your regular checkups with your dentist in Asheville. Dr. Saunders can spot damage to your smile before it has a chance to become an even bigger problem!
Be Aware of the Warning Signs Your Teeth Have an Issue
While your teeth and gums will usually tell you if there’s a problem, this isn’t always true. Many times issues such as a cavity won’t show symptoms until it’s become quite advanced.
However, in the meantime you can look out for:
- Pain. Whether it’s a toothache, tooth sensitivity, or jaw pain, you should follow up with your dentist and if you can’t get to a dentist, go to the emergency room.
Many dentists will offer after-hours care for emergency cases or be able to treat dental emergencies during regular office hours.
- Discoloration. Notice your teeth are looking more yellow or brown? Whether several of your teeth are looking a different color or it’s just one tooth, schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure your teeth are healthy and to remove staining with a professional cleaning.
- Sore or bleeding gums. If your gum tissue is irritated or red, this could be a sign of gum disease. While again common, gum disease should always be professionally treated or it will get worse.
- Bad breath. Bad breath could be from something as simple as not drinking enough water or as complex as a tooth infection. If you have bad breath that won’t go away, it’s time to see your oral healthcare professional.
While summer certainly brings tons of fun, it can also bring an increased risk for injury and dehydration. It’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist during the summer months to ensure your smile is healthy. Call us at (828) 277-6060 or fill out our contact form to get in touch. We look forward to making your summer smile beautiful!
Beware of summer drinks that can damage you tooth enamel. Get in touch with our doctors to know about your oral health. Call (828) 277-6060 now!