Taking care of your teeth during the summer is just as important as practicing good dental hygiene for the rest of the year. Although you may be in vacation mode during the summer, you shouldn’t become lax with oral care. Even if you are not following your normal routine, take the time to regularly brush your teeth and keep any checkup appointments with your dental provider.
Martin Implants, a general and cosmetic dentistry office in Stockton, California, has the following tips for keeping your smile picture perfect all summer long.
Maintain a Routine
No matter what you’re doing, you should brush your teeth twice a day. Use fluoride toothpaste and spend at least two minutes working the bristles over the teeth in a circular motion. Some dental patients find it easier to use a powered toothbrush to get into hard to reach areas of the teeth. As a reminder to brush your teeth and to time how long you’re brushing, you can download an application on your smartphone. Toothbrush makers like Colgate have even developed apps that provide information about your brushing habits. Colgate Connect uses Bluetooth-technology to track how well you are reaching 16 brushing zones. Once finished brushing, always stand up your toothbrush in a cup. Leaving the bristle moist can stimulate bacteria growth. It becomes counterintuitive to put a toothbrush filled with bacteria into your mouth when you’re attempting to clean your teeth.
Besides brushing, floss at least once a day. The best time to floss is right before bed to remove any food debris that may be lodged between the teeth. The American Dental Association advises rubbing a piece of floss gently between your teeth until you reach the gum line. Once at the gum line, curve the floss into a “c” shape to slide it into the space between the gum and tooth. Rub the side of the tooth with the floss using up and down movements. Repeat for all teeth before discarding the floss.
Make time on vacation for brushing and flossing. If you’re taking a road trip, bring along a travel toothbrush and toothpaste to use at rest stops. In case of flight delays, have your toothbrush and toothpaste on hand to use in airport bathrooms.
Drinking a lot of water is another key part of summer dental care. When you have dry mouth, bacteria are more likely to flourish inside. Water rinses out the bacteria and prevents the formation of plaque. Drink water instead of beverages filled with sugar. Energy drinks, sodas, and fruit juices can have a staggering amount of sugar per serving. For instance, Mountain Dew has 46 grams of sugar per can. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends a maximum intake of 50 grams of sugar daily with the warning that diets high in sugar increase the likelihood of dental cavities. Carbonated drinks are also problematic for the teeth since the acids in the beverages wear down tooth enamel. If you do choose a carbonated beverage, drink plain sparkling water to reduce the effect on your teeth. Unsweetened tea and milk are additional safe drink choices for the summer.
The summer is filled with tempting treats. Many barbecues and festivals offer foods high in both calories and sugar. Although the occasional indulgence is acceptable, you don’t want your good eating habits to fall apart during the summer. Too many summertime treats and you could end the summer with a mouth full of cavities. Avoid potato chips, ice cream, cotton candy, and sticky candies. Candies such as caramels and lollipops are among the worst things to eat. These foods stick to your teeth and give them a prolonged sugar bath. Instead, opt for low-sugar and no-sugar options of your favorite snacks. Artificial sweeteners won’t promote tooth decay and are just as sweet as sugar. Fruits have natural sugars and have acidic properties, but are a better choice for your teeth than candy and ice cream. Good snack choices that won’t harm your teeth include plain yogurt, nuts, cheese cubes, seeds, celery, and carrots.
Prepare for Dental Emergencies
With all of the fun activities you are enjoying during the summer, there is a greater risk for injury. Emergency dental appointments are common during the summer, especially for children. Dental emergencies include cracked teeth, dislodged teeth, and jaw injuries. Summertime injuries are often caused by falls involving bicycles, bounce houses, trampolines, and pool decks. Reminding children to follow all safety rules can help prevent these types of injuries. Furthermore, if you or your child participates in a sport, wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth during game play. Never chew on ice since chomping on any hard substance can break the teeth and wear down the enamel.
Despite your best efforts, a broken or dislodged tooth can happen. The first step is to perform first aid. Rinse out the mouth with warm water and use gauze to stop active bleeding. Ice packs help alleviate any pain and swelling. An over-the-counter pain reliever can be taken too. As soon as possible, call your dentist and make an appointment with a provider. The emergency dentistry provider will advise you to bring in any dislodged permanent teeth to the appointment. Keep the tooth in good condition by only picking it up by the crown and storing it in milk or salt water until you arrive at the dentist.
Visit the Dentist
The best way to care for your teeth is to make an appointment with a dentist for a checkup and cleaning. Your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and jaw and address any issues. Schedule your appointment in June or July as a way to avoid the back-to-school rush and get any work done early to enjoy the rest of the season.
Looking for a friendly and experienced cosmetic, general, or restorative dentist in the Stockton area? Contact Martin Implants today to schedule your summertime dental appointment.