It’s been a rough winter in Syracuse, and we’re ready to toss our flannels in storage and bring out the shorts and T-shirts. Summer is just around the corner, which means we can throw caution to the wind, enjoy being outdoors, and get out of our rigid routines for a couple of months. Before you get too excited, though, I should warn you: Summer could be bad for your teeth. Why? It’s not associated with candy binges like fall and winter, so what’s so dangerous about it?
Since we were kids, summer was a time for later bedtimes, fun with friends, and vacations where we would do and eat what we wanted. Fun as that may be, here are a few things to be mindful of this summer that just might save your teeth:
- Watch out for sugary drinks. Energy drinks, sports drinks, sweet tea, lemonade, soda … you name it, we’re drinking it this summer. Same goes for that tasty margarita you enjoy with your neighbors on Fridays. All of these drinks have acids that weaken your tooth enamel, sugar that causes decay, and food coloring that stains those pearly whites. When you indulge in these summer beverages, be sure to follow each serving with a glass of water to flush out the damaging stuff that remains on your teeth.
- Use caution during outdoor activities. The more active we are, the more at risk we become for injury — including injuries to our teeth. If you engage in rigorous sports, even if it’s just a pick-up basketball game, wear a mouthguard to protect your smile.
- If you have a choice, choose the ocean over the pool. Why? Exposure to the high levels of chlorine that keep pools sanitary can actually erode your enamel. The high content of ocean water, however, cuts back on the bacteria that lives in your mouth. When you do hit the pool, be sure to rinse with water after you get out to minimize your exposure to chlorine.
I want you to enjoy your summer, but I want you to do so without causing harm to your teeth. If you do have a summer-related tooth incident, don’t hesitate to contact my office. I look forward to seeing you, no matter what the season.