Now the hot weather is finally here, we don’t want to put a dampener on your fun but there are some steps you can take to avoid any unnecessary cosmetic dental treatment or ruining the smile makeover you’ve already had done!
Spending six hours or more per week in the pool can lead to teeth developing a yellow or brown tinge that requires a professional cleaning to remove. This is called ‘swimmer's calculus’ and is caused by the relatively high pH, as compared to saliva, of chemically treated pool water. While daily use of an electronic toothbrush and whitening toothpaste may help reduce swimmer's calculus, it's important to talk to your dentist before you begin aggressively cleaning teeth at home — your dental enamel may not be able to withstand abrasive toothpastes. Also, before you nosedive into that shimmering pool to cool down, do check that it’s deep enough — broken teeth don’t look great in those Facebook pics!
‘Barodontalgia’ also known as ‘tooth squeeze’, is pain caused by a change in air pressure. This syndrome typically doesn't affect healthy teeth, but can cause problems for those with gum disease, dental infections, decay, abscesses and failing or incomplete dental restoration work. If you are about to fly off for your summer break or embark on any scuba diving, make sure you are dentally fit before either. Book a check up with your dentist if you have any niggling pain or have any on-going dental hygiene issues.
The better weather brings a lot more opportunities for outdoor sports. If your children like a spot of skateboarding or mountain biking, for example, you may want to consider a mouthguard. Talk to your dentist about protecting teeth during sports along with how to perform first aid for dental emergencies.
Keeping hydrated during a hot summer’s day is critical for your overall wellness as well as your dental health. A healthy saliva flow helps protect tooth enamel and cleanse away substances that can lead to tooth decay. Drink plenty of water — rather than sugary drinks — and chewing sugarless gum can also help stimulate saliva flow, as can mouth rinses developed for dry mouth care.
Avoid chewing on ice no matter how thirsty or overheated you are — it can cause cracked and chipped teeth, damage to tooth enamel, problems with existing dental work such as fillings and crowns, and sore jaw muscles.
Quenching summer thirst with energy and sports drinks, citrus juices or acidic drinks like lemonade weaken tooth enamel, which can lead to cavities and even tooth loss. Also limit acidic foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, sour sweets, and vinegary pickles. And try not to overdo it with the alcohol — especially summertime cocktails that can also have a detrimental effect on our dental health, Leave brushing teeth for at least half an hour after eating or drinking. Do it too soon and it will only do more damage.
Whether you're on a boat, at poolside or caught in a summer downpour, wet surfaces can result in slips and falls that can create dental damage. If the damage is confined to a tooth or teeth that have been loosened, knocked out, broken or chipped, try to see a dentist ASAP — within 12 hours or less. Knowing what to do during a dental emergency and getting prompt professional help, greatly increase the chances that a tooth can be restored to health.