Summer is in full swing, with families enjoying timeless activities like backyard BBQs and road trips. Many people agree that summer is one of the best times of year because of the memories we create with loved ones.
Most of these summer activities come with fun summer treats, which is why it is more important than ever to be proactive about maintaining healthy teeth. Whether you are indulging in funnel cakes at the fair or cooling off with ice cream in the summer heat, be careful so you don’t damage your teeth and gums.
Maintaining healthy teeth doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with the delicious treats this season. Instead, it’s about finding balance and maintaining good oral hygiene practices to minimize the way these treats affect your teeth. If you’re not careful, then too many treats can result in dental issues. But there are many simple steps you can follow to avoid these problems.
Follow these tips to maintain healthy teeth throughout summer:
Follow an Oral Hygiene Routine
During the summer, many families relax the daily routine since kids don’t need to be out of bed early for school. Even though your schedule is more flexible, there are a few essential habits you should keep all year long.
Regardless of the time everyone is getting up or going to bed, make sure to stay consistent with brushing and flossing your teeth. Keeping oral hygiene at the top of your priority list this summer will help the entire family enjoy healthy smiles.
In addition to morning and evening brushing, also look for ways to include oral hygiene in other parts of the day as needed. For example, you might ask everyone to brush their teeth after sharing ice cream together.
Be Selective About Your Treats
Just because you are on vacation, doesn’t mean that you need to over-indulge in sugar. Sweet treats are fun to enjoy, and there are ways you can reduce the sugar content while still snacking on delicious food.
Whenever possible, swap refined sugar for natural sugar. Instead of packing the picnic basket with chocolate and soda pop, bring along natural sweets. You can choose watermelon, peaches, strawberries, blackberries, and more. These foods are abundantly available in the summer months, giving you a variety of options to choose.
Fruits contain naturally-occurring sugar which can still affect your oral health. So, it’s smart to brush your teeth after eating these foods. The good news is that natural sugar is less damaging to your teeth compared to products with refined sugar.
Stick to a Regular Eating Schedule
Do you feel like everyone wants to eat all day long when they are sitting around the house? Often, kids turn to food when they are feeling bored. There’s nothing wrong with having snacks between meals, but these habits can quickly get away from you if you aren’t proactive about the schedule.
The problem with eating all day long is that the food stays on the surface of your teeth longer. There’s a difference between eating a meal in one sitting vs taking another bite or sip every 10 minutes. are you popping a piece of chocolate in your mouth several times an hour or sipping on a soda? Then the cavity-causing sugars and acids remain on your teeth throughout the day.
The best solution is to indulge in sugary treats in one sitting. Then, brush your teeth when you are done eating. If you don’t have a toothbrush, then swish your mouth with water and brush as soon as you can. Not only does brushing wash away the bacteria and sugar, but it helps you avoid eating more because the minty-fresh taste reminds you that your teeth are clean.
Stay Hydrated – With Water
Drinking a lot of water helps to balance your body and reduce the risk of dehydration. As you are packing the cool for a fun day trip, load up on water bottles instead of soda or sugary drinks. Sports drinks are deceptive because they are recommended in the heat. But these products are high in refined sugar and other harmful ingredients.
Another benefit of drinking water is that it can help you avoid unnecessary snacking. Sometimes, people confuse thirst for hunger. Your body might need a drink, but you reach for a snack instead. Next time, try drinking a glass of water and then waiting for 30 minutes before you eat. You might notice that the perceived hunger sensations go away. The water helps to satisfy your needs until the next meal.
Schedule a Dental Exam
The foundation to maintaining a healthy smile is to visit the dentist regularly. We recommend an exam and dental cleaning every 6 months. If you are due for a checkup, then consider booking these appointments before the kids are back in school. You have plenty of time available during the summer, so it’s the perfect opportunity to book appointments for everyone in the family.
One of the benefits of staying consistent with your dental exam is that we can help with the identification of cavities and gum disease in the earliest stages. Our dental team takes a proactive approach to help you prevent issues before they occur. If any problems are found in the earliest stages, then we can use minimally-invasive treatments to strengthen your teeth and gums.
Healthy Teeth: Watch for Signs of Tooth Decay
One way you can maintain healthy teeth is by watching for signs of tooth decay. If you suspect a problem, then you should call our office right away. The most common signs of tooth decay include:
- Mild, moderate, or severe toothaches
- Air sensitivity
- Temperature sensitivity (to hot or cold)
- Pain when eating
- Black or brown staining on the teeth
If you need help with family dental care, then our team is here to assist. You are invited to call us to learn more about available services. Contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas to schedule an appointment or learn more about the proactive steps you can take to maintain healthy teeth this summer.