Summer is a season when many of us abandon our usual routines. Longer days mean we can fill our evenings with activity. The kids are out of school, so they don’t need to devote time to homework. The family might even go on a vacation or two.
All of this relaxation can be good for your mental and physical health. But don’t let it negatively impact your family’s oral health. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene habits.
Here we’ve outlined five oral hygiene habits we hope you’ll practice this summer, for the sake of your teeth. If you’ve got questions about any of our advice or need to schedule a dental exam or other service, call Dental Images of Oklahoma City at 405-395-2283.
Don’t Put Off Your Dental Exams
With vacations or other special events on your summer calendar, you may decide to put off your bi-annual dental exam and cleaning. It’s not a good idea, though. Our professional cleanings remove plaque that you’ve missed at home and tartar that has formed as a result,. This reduces your risk of cavities and gum disease. Not only that, but it leaves your teeth looking and feeling great!
Exams also give Dr. Layton a chance to spot potential problems as soon as possible. It’s easier, less invasive, and less expensive to treat dental problems in their earliest stages.
Wear an Athletic Mouthguard
You or other members of your family may participate in more sports in summer months. You’ll want to wear an athletic mouthguard while you play, especially if your sport involves running, jumping, physical contact, or the possibility of getting beaned in the face with a ball. According to an article in The Journal of the American Dental Association, 13-39 percent of all dental injuries are sports-related. That’s a lot, and your odds of suffering a dental injury decrease if you wear a mouthguard during physical activity.
You can buy a “boil-and-bite” mouthguard at a sporting goods store. But it won’t protect you as well as a custom-made mouthguard. Dr. Layton will make sure your mouthguard is comfortable and fits perfectly – so you won’t be tempted to leave it on the sidelines. Between games, keep your mouthguard clean and dry. Rinse and dry it after use. Store it in a sturdy container with vents.
Stay Well Hydrated
Drinking water does lots of good things for your body, including your mouth. It helps keep your breath fresher and also helps wash away the food debris that can lead to dental decay and gum disease. It’s especially important to stay hydrated in the summer, when you lose more water through perspiration.
Try to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. You can also increase your water intake by eating healthy and tasty fruits and vegetables like watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Watch Your Sugar Intake
Some of summer’s most popular beverages can be hard on your teeth, due to their sugar and/or acid content. Highly acidic drinks like lemonade can erode your tooth enamel. With sugary drinks, it can be more dangerous to sip than to gulp. The longer your teeth are exposed to excess sugar, the greater your chance of developing cavities. So sipping on a single soda by the pool all afternoon can be more damaging than quickly drinking three soft drinks.
Limit your intake of sugary and acidic drinks. Try adding fresh fruits, vegetables, and/or herbs to a glass of water for a refreshing alternative.
Don’t Chew Ice
Be careful of ice in your drinks too. Over time chewing ice can weaken your teeth, leaving them more susceptible to breaks and cracks. If you do break or crack a tooth on ice – or anything else – call us for an appointment ASAP. Repairing the damage without delay will keep bacteria from getting inside your tooth where it can cause serious dental problems.
Good oral hygiene habits will help keep your family’s smiles healthy! Call Dental Images of Oklahoma City at 405-395-2283 if you need to schedule an exam or any other dental service.