The summer holidays are nearly here as thousands get ready to enjoy the break from school and work.
The three-months of warmer weather, longer evenings and plenty of social outings can lead to some people falling completely out of their routine.
Irish dentists are urging people not to forget about their dental checkups over the break, advising that people should keep up with their appointments.
This is to avoid any health issues arising from un-diagnosed problems, which can later have knock on effects with our overall health.
The lining of your mouth is 50 times more absorbent than your skin so whatever is consumed will go straight into your bloodstream.
Irish dentist and co-founder of Spotlight Oral Care, Dr Vanessa Creaven has shared her top tips and recommendations for good oral health this summer.
Brush Twice Daily
Don’t let the excitement of summer activities disrupt your oral hygiene routine. “I recommend brushing your teeth and gums twice a day for two minutes, even if your teeth feel clean after one! Use a Sonic Toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to effectively remove plaque and protect against tooth decay.
“Our Sonic toothbrush comes with a built-in two-minute self-timer to ensure you’re never over-brushing your teeth – which can actually do more damage than good!”
Hydration is not only important for overall health but also for maintaining good oral health. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking at least two litres of water a day to produce saliva and avoid your mouth becoming dry.
Saliva acts as your mouth’s antiseptic and helps to prevent decay. Without it, excess food particles and bacteria will not be washed away, not only leaving you with bad breath but your teeth will become more prone to decay. Remember to choose water instead of sugary drinks to keep your teeth healthy.
We prepare and protect our skin during the summer by applying sun cream and wearing sunglasses to shield our eyes, but how do we prepare our mouths?
“Don’t forget to protect your lips as well and apply a lip balm with SPF to prevent sunburn.”
Don’t Chew Ice
Avoid chewing ice or hard objects. While crunching on ice can help you cool down, it can also chip a tooth, or even worse, break it.
Drink water instead. You don’t want an emergency dentist visit whilst having fun in the sun!
Limit Sugary Snacks and Beverages
Summer holidays can often bring an abundance of tempting sugary treats and beverages including ice cream, soft drinks, and cocktails. While it’s fine to indulge occasionally, be mindful of the frequency and quantity.
People often snack on fruit juices and vegetable juices which people eat/drink as a “healthy” alternative. This can often lead to more sugar exposure which, in turn, leads to a higher risk of decay.
“Did you know that eating too often is actually what causes decay? It is essentially the frequency of eating rather than what you eat that causes decay which is why I advise patients not to snack too often!”
Keep Up with Regular Dental Visits
Routine can go out the window in the summer but it’s important to keep up your dental visits. Schedule a routine dental check-up before the summer begins and this will allow your dentist to identify and address any potential oral health issues.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet plays a significant role in oral health. Incorporate foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C, which promote strong teeth and gums. Include dairy products, leafy greens, lean proteins, and crunchy fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Maintain Children’s Routine
With the children off school, summer is the perfect opportunity to educate children about the importance of good oral health.
Encourage them to brush their teeth regularly, limit sugary snacks, and make dental care fun and engaging. It’s never too early to establish healthy habits.
“It’s essential to prioritise your child’s oral care from teething babies through to toddlers and beyond because helping them develop a healthy relationship with their smile now will support their oral health throughout their life,” Dr. Vanessa Creaven says.
“Taking care of your oral health during the summer is crucial to maintain a bright, healthy smile. By following these simple tips, you can enjoy the season while keeping your teeth and gums in optimal condition.”