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  • Dr. Bryant Anderson

5 Dental Tips for a Summer Full of Smiles

Summer break is here! The kids are out of school, and maybe you are even planning a vacation. While you enjoy everything summer has to offer, don’t forget about your oral health!

3 smiling women in car taking a selfie together

Here are 5 easy ways to keep your smile sparkling all summer.

1. KEEP UP YOUR GREAT HABITS, EVEN ON VACATION


One of the major challenges of summer vacation is keeping up with good habits without the same rigid schedule. This is especially true for kids!


Without a normal morning routine to get ready for school, and with bedtimes being a bit more casual during summer break, many kids (and especially teens) will start to forget about brushing and flossing.


If you struggle to remember your oral care routine while you’re on vacation, you could:

  • Set an alarm on your phone to remind you it is time to brush and floss.

  • Make brushing the first thing you do when you wake up.

  • Attach brushing to another task you normally don’t forget, such as taking a shower.

  • Pack extra toothbrushes in your carry-on in case anyone in the family forgets theirs.

  • Leave floss in convenient places so you can do it when the mood strikes (for example, add a floss keychain or put floss picks in the cup holder of your car).


If you are packing to go away, don’t forget to pick up travel-sized fluoride toothpaste, since full-sized tubes are not usually allowed in carry-on luggage.


2. STAY HYDRATED

Remember that it is easy to get dehydrated in the summer heat, especially in Florida. 

Staying hydrated is a key part of great oral health. Good hydration supports healthy saliva flow, and saliva is essential for keeping your teeth strong and gums healthy in several ways.


Saliva helps - 

  • Keep the teeth clean.

  • Provide enzymes that prevent bacteria from growing out of control.

  • Deliver essential minerals to strengthen the teeth.

  • Neutralizes acids that can break down enamel.


Beyond supporting healthy saliva flow, sipping water throughout the day can also help rinse food debris and bacteria from the mouth and help keep a more neutral pH.

If you have sensitive teeth, opt for room-temperature water. Similarly, don’t chug ice-cold water if you feel overheated, as it could cause stomach pain and headaches. 


3. WEAR SPF LIP BALM


Another helpful tip is to wear sunscreen if you plan to spend any time outside this summer. 

And don’t forget your lips! Lips are especially vulnerable to sun damage, and yet most of us don’t even think about protecting them from the sun.


Sun damaged lips can become dry, scaly, and even feel like sandpaper. Over time, sun damage may cause the edges of the lips to become blurred or less distinct and may even cause sores.


Unfortunately, many of these effects are more than cosmetic as sun damaged lips are at a high risk for developing skin cancer, and certain types of skin cancer that start on the lips are up to 11 times more likely to spread to other areas.


So when you are slathering up for a day at the beach or backyard BBQ, be sure to grab some high-SPF lip balm for the whole family, too!


4. RINSE AFTER SWEET SUMMER TREATS


Who doesn’t love a popsicle by the pool or a sports drink after a hot day outside? 

We are all about enjoying some of summer’s best sweet treats. Just be sure not to snack on sweets throughout the day, and when you do, rinse with plain water afterwards.


Letting sugar sit on the teeth elevates the acid level in your mouth for about twenty minutes before your saliva can neutralize it. So sweet and starchy snacking maintains this high acidity for hours at a time, significantly increasing your chance of decay.


Rather than sipping that sports drink, chug it and rinse with water. Same goes for acidic fruits, candies, and ice cream.


5. KEEP CHLORINE OFF YOUR TEETH

Did you know the chlorine in pool water can stain your teeth? Well, indirectly.


Chlorine pool water has a high pH, making it more basic than the normal oral environment. This can throw off the pH balance in your mouth, allowing more minerals to stick to your tooth enamel.


These minerals can build up as calculus (tartar) and create brown or gray stains on the teeth.

This is usually not a problem for casual swimmers, but if your kids plan to spend every day in the pool, or you have a family member who is on the swim team, it is worth keeping in mind!


Fortunately, it is easy to prevent in most cases.

  • Be sure your pool water is properly balanced.

  • Keep up good brushing and flossing to prevent stains from sticking to the teeth.

  • Rinse with plain water after swimming.

  • Visit your dentist for regular cleanings to remove any extra tartar or stains.

Swimming is a great way to beat the summer heat, so enjoy your time poolside!


SUMMER IS A GREAT TIME TO SCHEDULE YOUR NEXT DENTAL VISIT!!

We hope this list will help you feel confident in your smile all summer long. As always, our dental office in Winter Park, FL is here to help you enjoy great oral health through every season.


Sadly, the next school year will be on us in no time! Our schedule does tend to get busy closer to those back-to-school months, so now is a great time to book your family’s next dental visits.



If you have little ones, this also gives you plenty of time to prepare them for a great visit. Have a wonderful summer!




 
Dr. Bryant Anderson, DMD

Dr. Bryant Anderson, DMD

Dr. Anderson also completed a Mastery program in Dental Sleep Medicine where he gained invaluable knowledge in the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. He maintains membership in many dental organizations and has received his fellowship in the International Congress of Oral Implantology and his fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry. READ MORE

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