Tips for a Healthy Summer Smile
Summertime is a whirlwind season for many people. Families are especially busy because kids are out of school, while others are left trying to juggle work with all of the fun activities that happen in summer.
Not unlike the winter holiday season, summer is also a very food-centric season. Fresh fruit is ripe and juicy, cold drinks are a poolside must, and backyard cookouts mean people go all out with side dishes and desserts.
Summertime treats are a nostalgic and enjoyable part of the season. And thankfully, it is possible to stay cavity-free without feeling like you’re missing out on your favorites.
Follow these 5 tips to keep your smile looking and feeling great all summer long.
1. Be mindful of sugar consumption.
Many of the foods, treats, and beverages we enjoy during summer are acidic or high in sugar. Fruit may have important vitamins and minerals, but juices and large portions of fresh fruit can be extremely sugary. Citrus fruits and fizzy drinks also tend to be quite acidic. Starches in the form of simple carbohydrates, like those in bread and pasta, also encourage bad-bacteria growth and tooth-decay development, much like sugar does.
Rather than trying to eliminate all foods or drinks with sugar or acids, simply be more mindful about how much you have within a day. Save sweet treats for certain times of the day and finish them in one sitting rather than grazing. Reducing exposure time of sugar or acids on your teeth and following up with brushing after 30 minutes to an hour will help protect your enamel.
2. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Staying well hydrated is imperative for a healthy body and equally important for maintaining a healthy smile. Adults should drink at least 11 to 16 cups of water daily, but summer heat and increased physical activity mean you should drink more if you’re sweating.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day keeps your mouth moisturized and your saliva glands working properly. Drinking during and after meals helps remove stuck food debris and cleanse the surfaces of your teeth. We especially recommend drinking water when you’re having a sugary or acidic treat, as it will dilute these substances and discourage them from sticking to your enamel.
Replacing sugary drinks with water is a great way to improve oral health by protecting against cavities and tooth sensitivity. Try carrying a water bottle with you at all times as a reminder to stay hydrated.
3. Choose smile-friendly summertime treats.
Instead of trying to entirely avoid your favorite summertime treats, substitute healthier alternatives that settle your cravings without hurting your teeth.
Here are a few tasty recipes to try:
- A vibrant, juicy fruit salad
- Quick, delicious Greek frozen yogurt
- Light, refreshing summer-themed drinks
- Fruit- or yogurt-based popsicles
A quick Google search can help you discover many healthy recipes perfect for summer. Search for your personal favorites and see what you can find.
4. Don’t overlook your oral hygiene routine.
Forgetting to brush and floss frequently can quickly lead to irritated gums and cavities. Summer is busy, but don’t forget to continue prioritizing your oral hygiene at home.
Brush twice a day for two minutes each time using the proper technique to reach all of your teeth. Floss at least once daily, but feel free to floss whenever you have stuck food. Using a tongue scraper before brushing is a great trick for eliminating bad breath, and you can end your dental care session with a mouthwash of your choosing.
Setting reminders on your phone for morning and evening brushing is a great tip to establishing a routine. We also encourage our patients to set a two-minute timer while they brush, as many people often underestimate how long a proper brushing session feels.
For times when you’re out of the house, consider keeping a small travel or disposable toothbrush with you and using disposable flossers when string floss isn’t possible.
5. Book a dental checkup and cleaning.
Eating a nutritious diet and taking great care of your teeth are only two of three pillars necessary for optimal oral health. The third pillar is seeing your dentist every six months without fail for a preventive checkup and cleaning.
Your dentist can pick up on subtle early warning signs of developing tooth decay and gum disease that are otherwise unnoticeable. The sooner they can identify and treat these problems, the better!
Professional dental cleanings are also a must for healthy teeth and gums. Only a hygienist can remove all traces of plaque and tartar from your teeth. Even the most fastidious brusher will still have some plaque buildup hidden between their teeth that could lead to gingivitis or gum disease.
Summer is a busy time for dentists, so don’t wait to schedule your next appointment!
Bloomington Modern Dentistry cares for your family’s smile all year long.
The Bloomington Modern Dentistry team is always ready to help you and your family with all of your oral health needs. In addition to routine checkups and cleanings, we also provide complete cosmetic dental services. A professional whitening session is a great way to treat yourself to some self-care and ensure your smile looks picture-perfect in group photos this summer.