At the start of summer, you might start thinking about how to protect your skin from the rays of the sun. While your teeth don’t need sunscreen, they do need to be protected from damage that’s more likely to occur in the summer months.
More physical activity, as well as sugary drinks and frozen treats, can increase your risk for damage to your teeth, meaning you might need a dental implant to repair a broken or worn out tooth. A summertime diet full of sugary foods can also increase your risk for gum disease.
Enjoy the summer months, just remember to pay attention to your teeth and gums. Here are a few ways you can keep your mouth in good shape this summer.
Consider a Mouth Guard
If Wimbledon or the World Cup have encouraged you to get out on the court or field, go the extra mile when it comes to protecting your teeth. A mouth guard is a must when playing sports or engaging in an type of physical activity, such as biking along a mountain trail or trying to skateboard for the first time in decades.
A mouth guard does a bit more than keep your teeth from breaking or chipping. It can also protect your tongue and other soft areas of the mouth if something strikes you in that area. Your dentist can provide you with a guard that is custom-fitted to your teeth and gums or you can purchase one over-the-counter.
Usually, over-the-counter mouth guards don’t offer the range of protection found in custom-fitted guards. But, if you find yourself participating in an impromptu game of soccer or basketball, a store-bought guard is better than nothing.
Be Careful of the Pool
Chlorine is not a good way to get a whiter smile, so don’t think that by going for a swim daily you’re helping your teeth. In fact, chlorine can have a negative effect on your smile, as it can wear down the enamel on your teeth.
The occasional swim in a well-maintained pool won’t do much to harm your teeth, but not taking good care of your swimming pool may. If the chlorine level in your pool is too high, the effect on your teeth can occur quickly. Signs of enamel erosion include yellowed or darkened teeth, more sensitive teeth, and even cracks in the teeth.
Check the chlorine levels in your pool on a regular basis to make sure the balance is right. If you’re not sure how to properly maintain the right chlorine levels, it might be a good idea to work with a professional pool service. While it might not seem like a big issue, the damage caused to your teeth by excess chlorine can be permanent.
Keep Sugary Treats to a Minimum
Sweet cocktails, soda and other sugary drinks, such as lemonade, flow freely in the summer. While a glass of sweetened ice tea or lemonade seems very refreshing on a hot day, it can also wreck your teeth. Sugary drinks can increase your risk for tooth decay as well as gum disease, particularly if you’re not in the habit of brushing your teeth afterwards. Save the sweet drinks for special occasions and try to stick with water when you want to cool off.
Watch out for Frozen Treats
Chewing on ice can be a way to cool off, but it can also harm to your teeth. Trying to crack anything hard with your teeth can chip or crack the tooth. If your teeth are already worn down or if the enamel is wearing out for other reasons, biting down on a piece of ice can do further damage, meaning you might need a replacement tooth.
It’s not just frozen items that can damage your teeth. Try to avoid putting anything non-edible into your mouth, whether it’s the edge of your sunglasses or the end of a pen.
If you do happen to injure or damage your teeth this summer, you do have options. Dr. John Gallardo can evaluate your teeth and let you know if an implant and crown is right for you.
The dentists also specialize in treating gum disease and can offer tips on preventing and treating the condition. To schedule an appointment at their practice, call (305) 447-1447.