Summer is upon us! We’ve felt the Austin heat steadily rising in the last few weeks and you’ve no doubt looked to water-based activities to cool off such as taking a dip in Barton Springs Pool, floating down the Guadalupe River, or spending the day at the pool.
This time of year you’re often reminded to take care of your skin from sun damage with sunblock, protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses, and be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. What you may not have heard is that summer is also a time to take precautions with your dental health.
The following are some tips to keep your smile healthy during the hottest months of the year.
Swimming Pools and Teeth
If you have a pool or swim in one, you know there are a number of antimicrobial chemicals needed to maintain the cleanliness of the water and the safety of those swimming in it. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, if exposed long enough to these chemicals you may develop a brownish stain on your teeth.
A study of athletic swimmers found that many of those who spent more than 6 hours a week swimming in a pool had stained front teeth. “Swimmers mouth” is a result of a higher pH level due to the pool chemicals breaking down proteins in saliva which form brown-colored tartar deposits on the teeth. The staining can be removed with a professional dental cleaning and will not cause any further damage.
There’s also some concern that if the pool’s pH level is not properly maintained that it can become acidic and soften your tooth enamel making it more prone to tooth decay. The culprit is often a low pH gas-chlorinated pool. If you swim competitively or spend a large amount of time swimming laps in a pool, be sure to check with your dentist about fighting dental erosion with fluoride.
Summer Drinks and Teeth
Lemonade, sodas, sports drinks, beer, and white wine flow more than usual during summer. While it’s hard to pass on glass of fresh cold lemonade, the sugar and acid can damage your teeth if you’re not careful to rinse with water after enjoying it.
When you do have a glass of an acidic drink, be sure not to sip on it for a long period of time. The longer your teeth are exposed to the acid, the harder it is for your mouth to return to a tooth-friendly pH level to prevent developing yellow and eroded teeth. Make sure to wait to brush your teeth at least an hour after drinking one of these summer beverages, because you may cause further damage while your tooth enamel is still soft.
Summer Foods and Teeth
Who doesn’t love some good ol’ Texas barbeque?! Austin is home to many amazing barbeque chefs, both those who run restaurants and those who operate the pit in the backyard. We’ll not stand in your way of some delicious meats, but just make sure you’ve got plenty of floss to get the pieces that often get stuck between teeth whether you feel it or not.
BBQ sauce is sticky and can leave you with even more food bits between in addition to staining your pearly whites. It’s best to drink water with your meal and floss when you’re done. If you’d hate to lose that Texas taste, you can always try bacon-flavored floss instead of mint.
Summer Tricks for Whitening Teeth
Choose your clothing wisely if you feel your teeth are more off-color than you’d like. Bright white shirts can draw attention to a lesser shade of white in your teeth.
Along the same lines as white shirts, lip color can enhance or exaggerate the color of your teeth. To make yellow teeth appear whiter, avoid coral and peach colors but choose a lipstick or lipgloss that is pink with a blue undertone. For teeth that have a grayish hue, avoid red with blue undertones and try colors that are on the brownish-pink end of the spectrum.
If you’d like to make an appointment with us, please call us at (512) 943-6502 or fill out the Contact Us form on our website. Also, we’d love for you to join us on Facebook or Google Plus! Like our page to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in our office, health tips, and the latest trends in the dental industry.