Keeping Your Mouth Healthy In Summer
Are warm weather habits compromising your oral health?
Although a few people probably prefer the cooler Autumn and Winter months, it is probably fair to say that most of us look forward to the time of year when we can dig out the tee shirts and feel the warmth of the sun on our skin.
Summer can be a great time for sure, and many of us will associate it with holidays, or at least, weekend breaks away.
The hotter weather is not without its drawbacks though, and this applies to our oral health too. Hot weather may lead some of our Confidental Clinic patients into habits that can be very damaging for their teeth and our gums. With a little bit of care though, this can usually be easily avoided.
Ice creams and fizzy drinks
There is nothing quite like the taste and coolness of a cold fizzy drink, or ice cream on a hot summer’s day. As readers of some of our previous blogs will probably be aware though, these can be very damaging to our teeth, especially if consumed regularly. Ice cream is obviously usually high in some sort of sugar as are many fizzy drinks. Although both are harmful to our teeth, it is the fizzy drinks that we should be especially careful of. Most of these are quite acidic and, if drunk on a regular basis, are likely to damage the enamel on our teeth by eroding it and causing it to thin. As the enamel thins, you are likely to notice your teeth becoming more sensitive. They will also be less well protected against problems like tooth decay.
We wouldn’t want to deny our Clapham patients the pleasure of eating ice cream on a hot day, but would urge that you do so in moderation. Where possible it is also highly recommended that you avoid fizzy, high sugar drinks and stick to water or sugar free options. This is better for hydration and will not cause damage to your teeth.
To some degree, our bodies tell us when we need to have a drink. A dryness in our mouth combined with a dip in energy levels is usually a warning sign that we need to take some liquid on board.
At this stage, it is a little like slamming on the emergency brake and, whilst we should act on these signs, it is far better to avoid them arising in the first place. Our bodies are made up of large quantities of water that need replenishing on a regular basis. On a hot day, our water loss will be greater and we need to be aware of this and drink more often.
As mentioned above, water is the best liquid that we can drink to stay hydrated. Thankfully, in this country, it is easily accessible and we should take advantage of that fact. Our teeth, gums and general health will thank us for it!
The barbeque set has become a common site in people’s gardens in the UK over the last few years and the idea of eating outside in the sun is appealing for obvious reasons. A lot of the food provided at a barbeque though can contain high sugar levels. This is especially so when sticky barbeque sauces are used. Not only are these high in sugar, but the nature of them means that they get easily stuck between our teeth and may not be removed by brushing. If you have had a barbeque, do make sure that you floss well between your teeth as well as brushing. Ideally, you should be doing this on a daily basis, but certainly following eating sticky foods.
Accompanying a barbeque with a few cold beers is traditional, but even if you drink beer on its own you are putting your teeth at risk. There are a number of reasons for this.
Most beer contains sugar, which, as we know, is harmful for our teeth and gums. It is not just this though that creates the problems associated with alcohol. Although thirst quenching and appealing on a hot day, alcohol will eventually dehydrate us. This is sometimes to the point where it is almost impossible to rehydrate sufficiently before we go to bed. Many of us will have woken up with a dry mouth in the morning after drinking and this provides a highly suitable environment for bacteria to multiply in our mouths. Especially if you do this regularly, gum disease becomes a real possibility and may even result in tooth loss if ignored.
If you do drink alcohol, try alternating it with water and make sure that you stay well hydrated to avoid dry mouth syndrome. It is also worth mentioning that many admissions to the A&E wards in hospitals are caused by excess alcohol intake. Please make sure that if you do drink, then try to do so in moderation.
At the Confidental Clinic, we hope that all of our patients have a great summer, but that you also take care of your teeth and gums. Our dental team are here to help you should any problems arise, or simply for your regular dental check appointments. If you need to see us for a dental emergency or for any other reason oral health related, you can make an appointment by calling us on 020 7801 9060.