Summer is almost here, and there are several good and important ways that people prepare for it: booking vacations, summer activities for kids, working out, saving money, and eating healthier. Another way to prepare for summer is to create a plan to take care of your oral health. Neglecting your teeth for any amount of time can lead to dental decay, damage, and staining.
Thankfully, there are many practical habits you can integrate into your everyday life to maintain optimal oral health. Here are our top 5 dental tips for keeping your smile healthy all summer long:
1. Create and Maintain an Oral Hygiene Routine
If you don’t already have a set oral hygiene routine for yourself or your child, now is a great time to create one. Routines are especially important for children when they are learning how to take care of their teeth.
There are two significant factors: brushing and flossing. That sounds simple enough, right? It is! However, how you brush and floss and how often you do these things is incredibly important.
People of all ages should brush their teeth once in the morning and once in the evening (after their last meal). Use a soft-bristled manual or electric toothbrush, brush in a circular motion for two minutes, and be sure to use gentle pressure.
For children, toothbrushing may be a little more challenging. Make sure your child is using the right technique and scrubbing all surfaces of each tooth.
Bonus dental tip: If your child has difficulty brushing for a full two minutes, play a two-minute song or video during that time.
Children and adults should floss daily, preferably at night. Toothbrushes cannot clean between the teeth, so flossing is imperative for removing food and bacteria that can lead to cavities and gum disease.
To make flossing less of a hassle, choose the type of floss that is easiest for you to use. The types of floss include:
- Waxed dental floss
- Floss picks
- Water flosser
- Dental tape
When you floss, be sure to run the floss on both sides of every tooth and away from the gum tissue.
2. Drink Water
Staying hydrated is especially important during the summer. Our bodies lose lots of fluid when we sweat, so it’s important to replenish it for overall health. Water is also important for your oral health.
Here are three oral health reasons to drink more water:
- Drinking water keeps your mouth clean. It just makes sense that every time you take a drink of water, it washes away bacteria and food particles from the teeth, gums, and cheeks. This reduces the amount of plaque buildup because plaque won’t form on clean, hydrated teeth or gums. The water also dilutes any acids from food and beverages that may weaken your dental enamel. Water also helps reduce dental stains caused by coffee, wine, and dark-colored foods.
- Water fights dry mouth. When the mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva, plaque builds up and causes dry mouth, or xerostomia. Staying hydrated by drinking water stimulates saliva production, providing the mouth with the minerals it needs to remain healthy.
- Drinking water helps restore dental enamel. Water that contains trace minerals and fluoride can help strengthen and restore your dental enamel. These benefits typically come from tap water or mineral water, not filtered water or distilled water.
Bonus dental tip: Infuse your water with fruit to encourage yourself or your child to drink more throughout the day.
3. Eat Tooth-Friendly Foods
For many, summertime calls for lots of cold beverages and treats like sweet tea, soda, ice cream, snow cones, and popsicles. Unfortunately, these high-sugar treats can cause real damage to your teeth. Instead, find snacks, beverages, and treats that have high amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C.
Here are some examples:
- Pineapple-kale smoothie
- Almond-spinach smoothie
- Fig milkshake
- Dried figs
- Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Oranges, apples, cantaloupe with cottage cheese
- Sliced bell peppers with hummus or veggie dip
- Baked kale chips
4. Protect Your Teeth From Damage
Do you bite your nails? Chew on ice? Play sports regularly? These habits and lifestyles are at a higher risk for dental damage.
Other teeth-damaging habits include:
- Using your teeth as tools
- Eating or drinking sugary products without drinking water afterward
- Chewing on foreign objects
- Thumb sucking
- Teeth grinding
- Brushing too aggressively
- Heavy drinking
Summertime is a great time for you and your child to break bad oral health habits. If you or your child plays sports regularly, talk to a dentist about a custom-fitted mouthguard.
5. Schedule a Visit to Our Office
Most dentists recommend that patients of all ages visit every six months. During these appointments, the dentist and hygienists check for signs of decay and disease and thoroughly clean your teeth. These biannual appointments are essential for good oral hygiene, maintenance, and learning more dental tips from dental professionals.
If it’s been a while since your last dental appointment, schedule an appointment for you and your family today with our friendly dental team. We can help you achieve optimal oral health and improve the appearance of your smile.