Summertime is a time for adventure, vacations, and relaxation. It is also a time when routines are subject to change. See Me Smile Dental and Orthodontics in Santa Barbara, CA understands that it is easy to let things slip during this time, including oral health and hygiene practices. However, there are additional aspects of summer that can pose a threat to oral health as well. Here, we will discuss our top five tips for keeping your teeth and smile shining bright all summer long!
Schedules become more flexible during summertime, and patients may go on vacation, to summer camps, or participate in outdoor activities. However, summer also poses some unique challenges to oral health. See Me Smile Dental and Orthodontics will discuss these challenges and how to overcome them, so you have the best summer possible. Here are five things patients in Santa Barbara, CA need to do to maintain oral health and hygiene during the summer:
California summers can be hot, especially if patients are active outdoors. Whether at the beach or playing basketball in the park, losing track of your water consumption is easy. Most people need to drink half their body weight in ounces to stay hydrated. For example, a patient weighing 160 pounds should aim to drink 80 ounces of water daily. Importantly, dehydration can also have an adverse effect on oral health.
More specifically, dehydration can lead to a condition called dry mouth, meaning there is not enough saliva in the salivary glands. Dry mouth can wreak havoc on oral health and cause mouth infections like oral thrush. It can also cause patients to struggle with halitosis, which is a term for bad breath. Finally, it can also cause tooth decay and lead to gum disease. Therefore, staying hydrated on a hot summer day can help preserve oral health.
The summertime has many temptations, including the temptation to stray away from healthy dietary choices. Perhaps patients are on vacation and choose to indulge in more sweets than usual. Although this is not unusual, moderation is the key. See Me Smile Dental and Orthodontics understands the need to splurge occasionally. However, consuming too many acidic or sugar-filled foods and drinks can negatively affect oral health or even harm orthodontic wear.
For example, oral bacteria feed off sugar, allowing them to multiply in the oral cavity. In addition, acidic foods can wear away at tooth enamel or even start to harm braces and dental appliances. Plaque build-up leads to tooth decay and cavities and can cause gingivitis or periodontitis. If this is left unchecked, surgical tooth extractions may become necessary to pull rotten teeth. After an occasional indulgence, we always recommend drinking plenty of water and brushing your teeth!
Many of our Santa Barbara patients go on vacations during the summer. See Me Smile Dental and Orthodontics wants you to have the best vacation possible, so we recommend making a checklist of oral healthcare items you need. Going out of town without necessities and a dental kit can cause issues or set your progress back, especially if you have orthodontics. Having a toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash handy is vital. Patients with orthodontics will also want to consider bringing interdental brushes, floss threaders, wax, and so forth.
It is not unusual for it to be more challenging to brush and floss on vacation. If you are off somewhere and cannot brush until you return to the hotel, using an interdental brush and swishing with mouthwash is one tactic to hold you over. It is also a good idea to complete any dental or orthodontic visits before leaving town and have the names and numbers of dental professionals in the area you will be staying in.
A cold beverage or treat is a perfect way to top off a sunny summer day. However, repeatedly exposing the teeth to sudden and extreme temperature changes can cause tooth enamel to crack. One of the best ways to avoid this is to give frozen drinks or sweets time to warm a little, even if it is just enough to prevent brain freeze.
See Me Smile Dental and Orthodontics understands that dental cleanings and exams can be the last thing you are thinking about during your Santa Barbara summer. However, it is essential not to neglect or skip these appointments. Skipping them can help issues like tooth decay and gingivitis to slip by undetected. These oral health issues are best treated as early as possible before they develop further.
In addition to regular dental appointments, summer can be the perfect opportunity to catch up on any dental work that needs to be done! Flexible schedules and time off can be an ideal time to schedule dental procedures or even begin orthodontics.
See Me Smile Dental and Orthodontics hopes each of our patients has a fantastic summer. However, it can be easy to fall back into old habits or neglect oral health during this time. There are also some additional challenges of summer that can affect oral health. Our top tips for maintaining oral health during the summer include staying hydrated, watching your diet, keeping dental essentials handy, avoiding sudden temperature changes, and staying on track with your dental appointments.