How Can You Keep Your Summer Smile Healthy?

Ice cream sales are 2-4 times higher in the summertime than they are in the winter. Barbecues are had weekly in many areas and it’s common to have food at every gathering. Brownies, cupcakes and candy are all around, which could mean cavities. Even cool-down drinks like lemonade and juice are major culprits that lead to tooth decay. Instead of struggling with oral health issues when the summer is over, here are a few tips to enjoy common summer snacks while still keeping your smile healthy and cavity-free!

Summer Treats: Watch That Sugar!

We all want to have great memories of summer. Taking care of your oral health is one easy way that you can help yourself enjoy your summer a bit more. Health issues can really put a damper on a good day. Nobody wants to break a tooth or to start having a toothache from a tooth infection that’s forming.

Those issues start before you ever get that pain or have a tooth weaken to the point of breaking. It all starts with what you’re eating and if you’re eating lots of sugar. If you’ve heard that sugar will rot your teeth, it’s actually not an old wive’s tale. There is some truth to that statement, as sugar is the food mouth bacteria needs to make plaque.

When you eat, sugars in your food get eaten by mouth bacteria. When is expelled is an acidic substance that sticks to your teeth. You can see it coating your teeth as a transparent (or white) substance called plaque. That plaque’s acidic content is what breaks up minerals in your teeth. Bacteria then gets in cracks and crevices causing infection and more minerals break up with decay.

This summer, limit your sugar intake with cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream and brownies that are so common at barbecues and parties. Watch out for juices, alcohol and lemonades that are full of sugar. Drinks besides water and milk have both sugar and preservatives like carbonic acid or citric acid. You then get plaque acids and preservative acids damaging your teeth. That’s something to think about!

Keep Mouth Bacteria at Bay

Studies show that between 500 and 700 DIFFERENT types of bacteria have been found inside the human mouth. However, that’s no need to panic. The average person only has somewhere around 32 types of bacteria in the mouth depending on their food intake, type of oral health and medical conditions. The less clean you keep your mouth, the more bacteria your mouth starts to build up. In fact, in just 3 hours, you double the amount of mouth bacteria you have in your mouth. It’s how you can go from fresh breath after brushing your teeth at night to having terrible breath in the morning. You’ve had all night for bacteria to multiply!

The more bacteria you have in your mouth, the more plaque your mouth can make if you eat anything with sugar in it. With added sugar in just about every product on the market today, your mouth is likely making plaque with every meal. That’s why it’s so important to keep your mouth clean with a few easy tips. One of those is using mouthwash. This is an oral rinse specifically designed to rid your mouth of bacteria that would decay your teeth.

It’s great for freshening your breath for quick summer get-togethers and for killing bacteria right after you’ve eaten. Most mouthrinses require you to swish for 30 seconds and then spit out the mouthwash. Keep a mini mouthwash in your bag and use it anytime you need it to keep your summer smile healthy and your breath fresh.

Healthy Summer Smile with Good Oral Hygiene

Many people don’t realize that there are specific, yet easy, guidelines for brushing and flossing their teeth. Brushing is perhaps the most important oral hygiene habit you can have if you want to avoid chronic oral health conditions like tooth decay and gum disease. In fact, if more people brushed, these problems could be eliminated entirely, or be reduced significantly. 92% of people in the U.S. have had at least one, but likely more, cavities during their life.

Tooth decay (cavities) is actually one of the most chronic, prevalent diseases according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Don’t let that be you this summer! Here are tips for brushing your teeth and more this summer:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, for at least two minutes at a time. Aim for morning and especially at night right before bed.
  • Brush every tooth surface in every direction and in circular motions, using a toothbrush that fits your mouth size.
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, meaning it’s safe and effective for fighting off bacteria and decay.
  • Floss 1-2 times a day, making sure you floss up into your gum line. Gently scrape your teeth as you floss up or down your teeth to remove stuck-on plaque.
  • Brush your tongue to remove food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath and dental decay.
  • Use fluoride treatments (as recommended by a dentist) to help strengthen your teeth against decay.

Snacking, Traveling and Other Tidbits

We’ve been over some of the best tips for keeping your summer smile healthy. Keep up on brushing, flossing and good oral health through the summer. When you’re traveling, take a travel kit with you. Buy one or make a small one for your bag. When traveling, plan meals ahead so you’re not constantly filling up on candy bars or gas station foods.

Choose water over acidic drinks. See a dentist before traveling out of the country so you don’t have dental infections while you’re away. Tips like these can help you have a healthy summer smile that lasts all year long. Call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies at (970) 223-8425 for more tips on keeping a healthy summer smile!