Three Summertime Habits That Are Not Good for Your Teeth
During the summer, most people focus on having a great time with family and friends. Trips to the beach, backyard barbecues, and sporting events abound. While it's great to partake in these adventures, it's important to take care of yourself in the process. Make sure you're not engaging in these three bad summertime habits that could be compromising your dental health.
Leaving seasonal allergy symptoms untreated
If you get a bit stuffy when the pollen count shoots up, you should not just fight through and ignore the symptoms. People who do not treat their seasonal allergies often end up breathing through their mouths rather than their noses. This dries out your mouth, allowing oral bacteria to flourish and putting you at risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Talk to your doctor about your allergy symptoms, and find a medication to keep them under control so that you can breathe through your nose and protect your teeth.
Drinking sports drinks regularly during exercise and outdoor activities
Sure, a cold sports drink is refreshing after you've been hiking up a mountain for a few hours or kicking a soccer ball around with friends. Sipping on these drinks too often, however, puts you at risk of tooth decay because it exposes your teeth to a lot of sugar. Acidic energy drinks may be even worse. Try to stick to water as a beverage unless you're doing a very long endurance workout that requires you to replace your carbohydrates and electrolytes. In most cases, you just need to stay hydrated during a workout, and water accomplishes that goal. If you really want a sports drink, enjoy it when you're finished with your activity, and brush your teeth soon afterwards.
Chewing on your ice
When it's 90 degrees outside and you reach the bottom of your drink, it's tempting to crunch on that ice to keep the cooling effect going. Unfortunately, this habit is terrible for your teeth. It can cause dental emergencies like cracked and chipped teeth, and if you engage in ice chewing regularly, it may wear down your enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities. If you just can't leave the ice in the bottom of your glass alone, try sucking on it rather than chewing it. You may also want to simply start asking for your drinks with no ice if you can't resist the urge to crunch it.
Summer is a fun season. Make sure your summer is riddled with good times – not trips to the dentist – by breaking the bad habits above. For more tips, talk to a dentist like Dr. Jon Douglas Lesan, DDS, RpH, PA.