It looks like Mother Nature has surprised us with unusually warm, sunny weather this year. So while you’re stocking up on sunscreen and filling the ice trays, you might want to think about “summer-izing” your smile. Here are some of my favorite tips for keeping your smile bright and healthy this season.
1. Protect yourself from pool water: Swimming is great fun and good exercise, but be careful around chlorine. The antibacterial agent can weaken tooth enamel, so keep your mouth closed while you’re in the pool. If you’re swimming in saltwater, you don’t need to worry. Ocean water can actually protect against tooth decay.
2. Stay away from soda and sports drinks: During a heat wave, it’s tempting to replenish fluids with flavored beverages. While we all know sugary sodas are bad for your teeth, the diet versions aren’t much better. Most of them contain citric acid, which contributes to tooth decay. And, despite their health claims, sports drinks can be the worst culprits of all. Many contain high amounts of both sugar AND acid. As a special treat, sports drinks are fine, but stick with water for everyday hydration.
3. Smile brighter with strawberries: This delicious summer fruit is a natural teeth whitener. Watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe are also good for your teeth and gums. They increase saliva production, which helps wash away oral bacteria. And crunchy fruits and veggies, such as apples, cucumbers, and celery, can help scrape plaque away. On the other hand, citrus fruits can be harmful, because of the high amounts of acid. They’re not in season anyway, so you may want to skip them in favor of seasonal fruits.
4. Let the sun shine in: While too much exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer, some sun can be beneficial for your smile, because it stimulates the body’s production of Vitamin D. A retrospective study of children ages 2 through 16 discovered that Vitamin D was linked to a 50 percent reduction in tooth decay. Vitamin D also supports bone health, which is important for patients of all ages.
5. Make time to see the dentist: If you have extra time off from school or work during the summer, why not set aside a few hours for your dental health? Getting a checkup every six months is the best way to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy, and if you have a cavity or other small problem, catching it early can help save you time and money down the road.
Got children home from college, or want to make an appointment for yourself? Give us a call 425.885.0008 and schedule a visit. You’ll be glad you made the investment in your oral health, and you’ll be ready to face the summer with a brighter smile.