Summer is coming, which means frozen drinks by the pool, picnics, barbecues, and lots of ice cream & popsicles. If you’re not careful, all that indulging can lead to increased risk of damage to your teeth. We know you’d rather be having fun in the sun rather than sitting in the dentist chair, so here are some tips to keep your teeth looking and feeling their best this summer.
Show restraint with sugary treats: With warmer temperatures comes a rise in consumption of frozen goodies. It’s perfectly fine to treat yourself, but try to be mindful of the sugar content. Many brands of ice cream and frozen yogurt offer low-sugar or sugar-free varieties that taste just as good as the originals! Do your best to go for these enamel-friendly options when you can, and to stay away from flavors with extra sneaky, sticky sugars like caramel, marshmallow, and fudge. Also, try to enjoy these after your meal and gently rinse your mouth with water after finishing.
Frozen cocktails by the pool are a summer staple. But these—as well as soda, juices, and other chilled drinks—are often loaded with sugar (and calories!). Try the 50/50 rule: for every sugary beverage you drink have a glass of water follow it with a glass of water to make sure you’re properly hydrated and to rinse your mouth of the sugars. Or better yet, switch to fruit-infused ice water or sparkling water to keep you refreshed.
Attacking the impulse for snacking: Picnics, family gatherings, and beach days can turn your daily meal routine into a day-long snackfest, continuously exposing your teeth to erosion and decay. Try to stick to your normal meal routine to limit endless munching and give your teeth a break.
If you know you’ll be in a place where you’ll be prone to grazing, be prepared! Rather than bringing an entire bag of chips to the park, prepare individual portions instead. Pack some of the fresh, healthy veggies and fruit in season during the summer months that are rich with nutrients and vitamins necessary for strong teeth. Stick to low-sugar/acid options like avocados, apples, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries while avoiding high-sugar/acid fruits like watermelon, pineapple, grapes, and bananas.
Lip tip: While being mindful of what goes in your mouth during the summer months, don’t forget about what goes on it! Make sure that in addition to your regular sunscreen, you’re using a lip balm that affords some protection from the sun. Look for one with an SPF of 15 or above. This seemingly small detail can be an important and inexpensive factor for helping prevent oral cancer.
So, hit the beach, hit the road, have fun, and stay healthy! Taking a few moments to think about and make a few easy, beneficial choices are all it takes to be confident in your oral health this summer.