The days are getting warmer (Although the nights are still a little bit cool) which means summer is on the horizon. In Queensland, we can expect blazing temperatures and sweltering heat as an excuse to hit the beach or taking a dip in the pool to cool off. As we start hydrating to compensate for fluid loss, do not forget to take care of your teeth. Two of the most serious impacts on our teeth comes from consuming sugary or fizzy carbonated drinks – tooth decay and acid erosion of the teeth. Hence, it is a good time to be mindful of how you can take care of your teeth in summer.
Read the tips below to take care of your teeth:
Brush and floss regularly
Remember that you can be on vacation, your health is not. While taking a break or a vacation, it is always easy to fall out of your daily routines such as partying late or sleeping late. It is quite easy to stop brushing or flossing. Do not stop your routine of brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day
Protect your lips from UV rays.
Who has not heard the slip-slop-slap by Cancer Council on applying sunscreen? When going out in the sun, we all wear plenty of sunscreen. But we forget to apply an SPF 15 or higher lip balm to our lips. Our lips are susceptible to burning, which over time can cause a variety of issues including skin cancer. Hence, it is important to apply an SPF 15 or higher lip balm before going outdoors.
Do not chew on ice
While it is very tempting to chew ice on a hot day, ice or other hard substances have been known to cause accidents which damage the teeth. Chomping down on ice also may wear on your teeth’s enamel.
Prevent Dental Emergencies
Summer means swimming, bike riding, sports, and other playground activities. While they are all fun, they also can cause physical and dental injuries.
Ensure you are aware of the below to prevent dental emergencies:
- Make your pool safe to prevent slipping on pool decks or diving into shallow waters. Slipping and bumping into a pool ledge with the mouth can cause a chipped or loose tooth.
- Do a quick first aid to help before rushing to the dentist. Warm water and cold packs can clean the area and reduce swelling. Use gauze to stop any bleeding. Place a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth, if possible. If not, use salt water or milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.
Tooth decay happens when plaque which is bacteria growing over your teeth come in contact with sugar from the food and drinks you consume. Sugar is used by the bacteria as a source of energy to release an acid which burns through your tooth enamel and exposed tooth root to cause tooth decay whist the harmful bacterial toxins to cause gum disease.
Dental erosion happens when the protective surface of the tooth is lost due to the action of the acids in the food and drinks we consume. It is always a good practice to consume foods and drinks in the safety zone of 6 to 7.
Saliva is a natural defence against dental erosion. Saliva can wash acids out of your mouth into the stomach, it can neutralise acid, and it can repair the early stages of tooth softening by repairing tooth mineral. A dry mouth can increase your risk of dental erosion.
So how can we reduce the risk of tooth decay and dental erosion as we drink more over summer?
Limit sugary drinks or foods
Summer means ice cream, sugary or fizzy drinks. Stay well hydrated, as this improves your saliva flow. Dehydration can reduce the amount of saliva you make so it is important to drink a lot of fluids in the 6-7 pH zone. The other fluids in the zone are soy milk, goat’s milk, and cow’s milk. Flavoured milk is thought to be more tooth-friendly than many sweetened beverages (e.g. cordial and soft drink) and some fruit juices (e.g. orange, grapefruit, and pineapple juice) because flavoured milk is not acidic and contains casein, calcium and phosphorus.
Teeth begin to erode at pH levels of lesser than 4.5. Avoid carbonated fizzy drinks as the acid can wear down the enamel. Fluids that have pH levels between 4 and 5 are acidic and should be consumed in moderation. These include beer, wine, or beverages such as black tea, coffee, or sweetened fruit juice.
Use a sustainable straw in acidic beverages to reduce the contact with your teeth and finish the drink quickly rather than sipping it over a period, thereby limiting the acid exposure in your mouth.
Always remember to brush your teeth after having your favourite summer treats.
Summer is a time of relaxation, beaches, pool time, and ice cream. As the days get warmer and the temptation to take a break becomes stronger, consider using the above tips to take extra care of your teeth.
Talk to us to book your regular checkup.