Heading into the Christmas and New Year season the last thing many of us will think about is our teeth! With spring and summer in full swing it is often so hot that all you want to do is enjoy an ice cream, an ice block or a cold can of soft drink by the pool!
While that sounds fantastic we thought we would put together some tips to help you fully enjoy the holiday season while staying safe and looking after you and your family’s oral health this summer.
Please don’t hesitate to call us on (07) 3493 0028 if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment!
1. Cracked teeth
The last thing you want on your holidays is a cracked tooth! By all means enjoy your food, but beware of hard foods such as pork cracking, hard nuts and hard candies. Please, do not attempt to open a bottle or mud crab with your teeth!
If you have existing cracked teeth or suspect your teeth may be cracked, please see us before everyone goes on holidays!
2. Keep Hydrated
Keeping yourself hydrated in the summer heat is very important, and for good reason. When the temperature is high, it is easy to become dehydrated. Not many of us know but a dry mouth has a much higher risk of tooth decay. This is because without adequate fluid or saliva in our mouths, any sugar/carbohydrate or acid we consume has free rein on our teeth. Combined with our natural plaque and bacteria it is a recipe for disaster.
This is why over summer it is more important than ever to balance your intake of sugary drinks and foods with water. In between Christmas and New Year’s sweets, soft drinks or wine, or when you are out and about in the heat, a glass or bottle of plain water will go a long way in protecting your teeth. Just make sure you don’t add any cordial or lemon!
By drinking plenty of water regularly each day you are helping to prevent tooth decay and you are also keeping your skin and gum tissues moist and healthy. Trust us, your body and your smile will thank you for it!
3. Protect your lips
Believe it or not, your lips are one of the most susceptible to burning compared to other body parts. Constant sun exposure and drying of the lips can put you at risk of skin cancer, so in the dryer and hotter months, we need to protect our lips by using a balm or gloss with a minimum SPF 15. Also don’t forget the rest of your body! Try to find products with high SPF factor which can also provide additional moisture to the skin. Using these products, particularly on your lips can help ward off skin cancers.
4. Snack Smart
One of the best thirst quenchers during summer is undoubtedly fresh fruit! However, choosing the right fruit and watching the amount you eat is also important. For example, watermelon is great as it assists to clean the mouth on account of its high water content. On the other hand, citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes are highly acidic and overeating can result in the erosion of the tooth enamel. The best way to enjoy citrus fruits is sparingly, and with plenty of water in-between.
Another hidden danger is the sugar content in fruit itself. Fruit contains natural fruit sugar Fructose, which like glucose is readily converted by the bacteria in plaque to cavity causing acid. Don’t be fooled by the summer mangos and other highly sweet fruits, as they can contain nearly as much sugar as your favourite sweet treats! As always, the first line of defence against decay is to limit snacking and drink plenty of water.
5. Pool Safety
Most true blue Aussies love the water, or at least lying near it! There are however, a couple of issues that you should be aware of!
As we all hit the pool this summer, we are at risk of developing yellowish-brown or dark brown stains on our teeth if we are in the water too regularly. Those who swim in chlorinated pools for more than six hours a week continually expose their teeth to chemically treated water. Pool water contains chemical additives which give water a higher pH than saliva and as a result, salivary proteins break down quickly and form organic deposits on teeth. These hard brown deposits, known as ‘swimmers’ calculus’, appear mostly on front teeth. Thankfully this can usually be removed by professional dental cleaning.
Another very important issue is pool safety! Make sure your kids know the pool rules, such as no running on wet surfaces, and no diving in the shallow end! With all wet surfaces anyone can easily slip and fall. The last thing we want is for you or your child to make an unwanted emergency trip to the hospital or dentist.
6. Sports Safety
During summer and warmer weather many kids (and adults) love to play sports outdoors. Unfortunately, with the increased number of people playing sports we also see a spike in sports-related injuries. Broken teeth are the most common sports injury. Sometimes this can be easily fixed but sadly much of the time it is an unpleasant, costly and time consuming exercise.
If your tooth is knocked out, try to gently rinse it clean in milk or cool running water. Is it very important not to handle the root of the tooth, only handling the tooth by the crown (the part of the tooth that you normally see). Do not let the tooth dry out, and if possible store it in a damp paper towel or a clean plastic bag in milk or water. Only try to replace the tooth if it is clean and you are sure it is going in the right way. If in doubt, leave it out. Call us or report to your nearest hospital.
Our best recommendation to prevent injuries is to organise mouthguard for your teeth, especially for contact sports such as Rugby, or ball sports such as Cricket or Hockey. It definitely doesn’t hurt to have a mouthguard for most sports anyway, as a stray elbow, knee or boot can result in painfully cut lips and cheeks.
We always recommend seeing us for a custom fit mouthguard, because if it isn’t custom made, it is like wearing a bicycle or motorbike helmet that’s the wrong size and fit!
7. Have a Check Up
Last but not least, while you and the family are on holidays and you have some time off to, why not book in a check-up and clean appointment with us before heading back to school or work?
The best way to look after your smile this summer is to make sure you are off to the best start. Regular six monthly check-ups are the industry standard as lot can happen in your mouth between visits. These check-ups will help you to identify any issues you may have and keep on top of them.
Also, who doesn’t want to start the new year with freshly cleaned teeth and a bright smile!
We hope you have found these tips informative and helpful. Again, please call us on (07) 3493 0028 if you have any questions or if you would like to book an appointment.
Take care this summer and we hope to see you soon!