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The long, sunny days of summer bring big fun, but some of the most popular seasonal activities can also damage your oral health. Here’s how to help ensure that both your summer and smile are bright and healthy:
Swimming: Spend six hours or more per week doing laps and your teeth may develop a yellow or brown tinge that requires a professional cleaning to remove. This is called “swimmer’s calculus” and is caused by the relatively high pH, as compared to saliva, of chemically treated pool water. While daily use of an electronic toothbrush and whitening toothpaste may help reduce swimmer’s calculus, it’s important to talk to your dentist before you begin aggressively cleaning teeth at home – your dental enamel may not be able to withstand abrasive toothpastes.
Scuba: “Barodontalgia,” also known as “Tooth Squeeze,” is pain caused by a change in air pressure. This syndrome typically doesn’t affect healthy teeth, but can cause problems for those with gum disease, dental infections, decay, abscesses and failing or incomplete dental restoration work. If you like to dive, regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene will make your underwater adventures far more pleasant. And if you do experience Tooth Squeeze, treat it as a cue that you need to see your dentist.
Sports: Roughly a quarter of dental injuries in children are attributable to sports accidents, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. If the summer sports that your children enjoy include impact and speed – think baseball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, bike riding, skateboarding, etc. – you may want to consider having them use a mouth guard. Obviously no one wants to don protective gear while engaging in every activity that could potentially cause an injury, so figure out what makes sense for you and your family. Talk to your dentist about protecting teeth during sports – for the kids as well as the adults – along with how to perform first aid for dental emergencies.
Social Media: Summer vacation equals free time for many teens, which may increase their use of social media. Parents should be aware that do-it-yourself dentistry is trending on sites such as YouTube – with videos on at-home orthodontics treatment suggesting that you can easily perfect your smile by wrapping rubber bands around your teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists has issued a consumer alert about the trend, noting that the practice can result in pain, decay and tooth loss. Discuss the dangers of self-service dental care with your kids.
Dehydration: Keeping yourself hydrated during a hot summer day is critical for your overall wellness as well as your dental health. A healthy saliva flow helps protect tooth enamel and cleanse away substances that can lead to tooth decay. Keep yourself well-hydrated with water. Chewing sugarless gum can also help stimulate saliva flow, as can mouth rinses developed for dry mouth care. If nothing that you try works, ask your dentist or another health professional to evaluate the problem.
Chewing Ice: Avoid chewing on ice no matter how thirsty or overheated you are – this practice can cause cracked and chipped teeth, damage to tooth enamel, problems with existing dental work such as fillings and crowns, and sore jaw muscles. If you just can’t quit your ice-chomping habit, get a physical check up to see if you have anemia.
Tart Treats: Quenching summer thirst with energy/sports drinks, citrus juices or acidic drinks like lemonade weakens tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities and even tooth loss. Limit your intake of artificially flavored, sugar-free treats that include citric acid and phosphoric acid. Also limit acidic foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, sour candies, and vinegary pickles. When you do choose to eat these foods, rinse your mouth with plain water and hold off for an hour or so before you brush. Brushing your teeth too vigorously, or shortly after your teeth have been exposed to acids worsens the damage.
Slippery Surfaces: Whether you’re on a boat, at poolside or caught in a summer downpour, wet surfaces can result in slips and falls that can create dental damage. If a tooth has been damaged by an injury to the head, you should consider getting a physical checkup immediately particularly if experiencing dizziness, disorientation or loss of consciousness. If the damage is confined to a tooth or teeth that have been loosened, knocked out, broken or chipped, try to see a dentist ASAP – within 12 hours or less. Knowing what to do during a dental emergency, and getting prompt professional help, greatly increase the chances that a tooth can be restored to health.
Contact Family Care Dental Clinic for your consultation today!
We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family. Our dentists can help everyone in your family understand the importance of proper oral hygiene over time and the positive effects it has on your health. At Family Care Dental Clinic, we treat our clients to a soothing environment where they can receive quality dental care no matter what their needs are. Call (604) 987-3545 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team!