Summer is a time for increased activity and fun in the sun, often combined with a sweet treat or a cold drink. You may not give your summer teeth much thought, but this season can have an impact on your dental health.
The following are five aspects of summer that can affect your teeth, along with some teeth tips to help minimize any damage:
Chlorine helps kill bacteria in pool water, but it’s very acidic and can soften your teeth over time. If your enamel wears down, your teeth may develop yellowish-brown or dark brown stains and become very sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks.
Tooth tip: A pool’s pH level should register between 7.2 and 7.8. If it’s too low, the pool water is especially acidic and can cause even more harm to your teeth. If you have an in-home pool, check your pH at least once a week, and in a public pool, look for spots of erosion on linings, ladders and railings. This is an indication that the water is too acidic.
- Lemonade, iced tea and sports drinks
Lemonade, iced tea and sports drinks typically contain much more citric acid than soda does. Citric acid can strip the enamel from your teeth, in addition to leaving them with stains and pockmarks.
Tooth tip: It’s better to choose other beverages, but if you’d like to have one of these highly acidic drinks, don’t sip on it all day long, as this will give your teeth an ongoing citric acid bath. Also, refrain from brushing your teeth immediately after consumption, since this is when your enamel is the most soft.
- Ice cream and frozen drinks
Ice cream and frozen drinks can be loaded with sugar, which provides food for the bacteria that cause cavities. In addition, if you have worn enamel, receding gums or other dental issues, your teeth may become very sensitive to the cold.
Tooth tip: Brush your teeth after eating these treats. If you’re away from home and can’t brush, rinse your mouth with water. Also, choose sugar-free or low-sugar versions when possible.
- Sports-related injuries
Warm weather makes it easier to exercise, but this sometimes results in injuries to your teeth. Whether you slip while running around the pool or are accidentally hit in the mouth during a basketball game, you could chip or break a tooth, or even knock it out entirely.
Tooth tip: If you’re participating in an activity that comes with the risk of a blow to the mouth, wearing a mouth guard helps protect your teeth and gums. You can buy one at a sporting goods store or, for a better fit, have one custom-made by your dentist.
We’re all familiar with the danger that the sun poses to our skin, but the sun’s rays can actually benefit your teeth. Getting a few minutes of sunlight a day will stimulate your body’s production of vitamin D, which many people don’t get enough of. This important vitamin helps your body absorb calcium to make your teeth stronger. In addition, vitamin D has been linked to a lower rate of tooth decay.
Tooth tip: While you’re out in the sun, make sure to wear a lip balm with an SPF of at least 15 to protect against lip cancer.
For more teeth tips to help protect your teeth and mouth in the summer, schedule a consultation with The Sadati Center for Aesthetic Dentistry in Wellington/West Palm Beach.