How to Protect Your Teeth

Summer Dental Care Mistakes To Avoid

Summer is finally here and you are probably ready for some fun days spent outside. For many people, life becomes more laid back in the warm season, but that's no excuse to let your dental health care lapse. The following are some dental care mistakes you will want to avoid this summer:

#1: Overdoing sugary, sticky foods

Summer barbecues, picnics, and festivals are often awash is sweet treats you don't often enjoy the rest of the year, such as funnel cakes, cotton candy, and ice cream. Even relatively healthy treats, like watermelon and fruit, can be hard on your teeth. This is because sugar feeds plaque-causing bacteria, which in turn increases your chances of cavities and gum disease. It's a good idea to brush after enjoying a summer treat, especially those that are particularly sugar-filled or sticky. If you aren't able to brush right away, take a few minutes to swish plain water around your mouth. This will help rinse out the excess sugar and food residue, which in turn minimizes plaque buildup.

#2: Not packing a dental emergency kit

Whether it's a day at the beach, a vacation at a hotel, or a multi-day camping trip, you should always keep a dental first aid kit inside your usual travel first aid kit. If you don't have any fillings, crowns, or braces, then you only need to stock three things in the kit – a non-aspirin pain reliever, gauze, and an oral numbing gel. The pain reliever and gel can help with pain if a cavity surfaces or if you suffer a minor oral injury, while gauze can be used to temporarily stem bleeding. For those with any type of dental work, add dental wax to the kit. This can be used as a temporary crown or filling if the permanent one is lost, or to coat damaged wires on braces.

#3: Ignoring safety concerns

For many people, summer is also a time of more activity. Whether this is team sports or a pickup game at the park, make sure you take steps to protect your teeth. Any type of physical game, such as tackle football, means you should wear a mouthguard. You may also want to consider a guard for games where you may accidentally get hit in the face, such as volleyball. For casual play, an inexpensive over-the-counter guard from the pharmacy is probably sufficient. If you play in a league or otherwise on a regular basis, consider having a custom guard made by your dentist. These are more comfortable and they tend to work better.