When we think of summer, we think of warm fun in the sun and getting a healthy glow. Your smile, though, shines year-round, and summer is the perfect time to take steps to brighten it, whiten it, and make it healthier.
A Healthy Smile Starts at Home
A healthy smile does, indeed, start at home, and there are many things you can do over the summer and year-round to care for your teeth and whole mouth and body.
Proper brushing and flossing
Taking care of your teeth every day – brushing and flossing at least twice a day – is very important for your overall oral health. A toothpaste with fluoride is essential, as the mineral helps to protect your teeth from the effects of sugary and acidic foods. Use a fluoride rinse as well to add protection for your teeth throughout the day and night.
Healthy Summer Nutrition
Barbecues, festivals, picnics fill summertime with delicious food and plenty of it. It can be very easy to fall into poor diet habits during the summer months and, while it is fun to splurge once and a while, it is essential for all of your body, including your teeth, to eat right the majority of the time.
When it comes to snacking, try to limit the sugary snacks and chips. Instead, opt for crunchy fruits and vegetables. Also, try not to eat late at night and especially right before you go to bed. Not staying up to digest your food isn’t good for your body, and if you don’t brush and floss before going to bed, you leave the food particles and bacteria in your mouth all night.
Summer heat and activity lead to plenty of good times and plenty of perspiration. When temperatures soar, you lose much hydration through sweating, so it’s crucial to keep yourself hydrated during these times. Stick to water and unsweetened drinks to keep your body hydrated and your mouth moist, avoiding caffeine, sweet beverages, and alcohol as much as possible.
Protect Your Lips
We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the sun, but too often, our lips are left unprotected. This is dangerous, though, because the skin on your lips is thinner and has no melanin to protect it from the sun’s rays. Lips are more susceptible to burns and potential problems like oral cancer.
An SPF-protected lip balm keeps your lips moist and shielded from the sun. If your lips do get chapped and start to flake or peel, don’t pull at the skin or lick your lips. The acid in your saliva can dry them out more. Use lip balm generously.
Give Your Dentist a Visit
Summer may seem like an odd time to visit the dentist, but there are many good reasons why a summer check-up is a great idea. Whether you get your teeth checked regularly or haven’t been to a dentist for a while, scheduling a cleaning and check-up during the summer is a good choice.
At your dental visit, your teeth will be cleaned, your gums checked for any signs of gingivitis or recession, and you will be screened for oral cancer. Your dentist will remove any plaque and tartar on your teeth and address any cavities or other problems.
If you have concerns about getting dental care, be sure to talk to your dentist about sedation dentistry as an option. Sedation dentistry can be beneficial for patients with anxiety issues regarding dental care.
Healthy teeth don’t necessarily look bright and white. Sometimes you have to take some extra steps to get the best smile possible, including whitening. You can start with whitening toothpaste and mouthwash, purchase dental whitening strips, or use the gel-based systems available in stores. Some take a few weeks before reaching maximum effect, and some take even longer.
In-office whitening procedures use stronger gels to whiten the teeth by many shades. The full whitening effect may take a few weeks or more, depending on how discolored your teeth are. Dental whitening may be done in-office, though some dentists have at-home kits that can be sent home with you. Our patients get great results with our take home whitening program.
Summertime is a great time to get aesthetic work done on your teeth that you may be putting off. If you have teeth that need a cosmetic procedure, such as crowns to help your smile look complete, healthy, and white, it may be time to get it done. Aesthetic work may also mean getting full-mouth work done, such as dental implants or dentures, if you have missing teeth.
Healthy Summer Smiles for Kids
First of all, it’s convenient. With school out, missing classes or interrupting homework isn’t an issue, and you can quickly attend a morning appointment and have the rest of the day free to have fun. Also, a summer cleaning means timing your next visit for the winter break.
Summer is also a good time for your kids’ tooth care because you have the opportunity to take care of dental services that might be more difficult to handle during the school year.
Braces On, Braces Off
Braces are a difficult yet inevitable part of growing up for many kids. After they get braces, there is a period when eating, even talking, may be very uncomfortable. Getting braces during the summer break gives your child the chance to adjust to having them before heading back to class.
If your teen has had braces for a while and the time has come to take them off, summer is ideal. They can look forward to returning to school with a beautiful smile and have the summer to get used to wearing a retainer, which could cause some speech difficulties for them as they get used to it.
Wisdom teeth may begin to erupt in the late teen years, but even before they can start pushing and shifting teeth. Summer is an excellent time to get wisdom teeth removed because the procedure requires some healing time, including bed rest.
There are many great ways to get your smile healthy and beautiful this summer. Contact a dentist in St. Petersburg, FL to discuss how to get your best smile this summer.