Summer holidays are a perfect time to relax, be with friends and just forget about many of the commitments of a busy year. Rewarding ourselves with a change of pace helps to bring a sense of balance to our lives. And while a lot of our everyday routines can be forgotten over the summer break, caring for our teeth is a habit we can’t afford to forget. There’s just too much at stake.
Flossing – why it’s so fabulous
Nearly half of the surface area of our teeth can’t be cleaned by brushing alone. Floss is the only way to remove food and plaque from in-between teeth and under the gums. There are many different types of floss available to buy at dental centres, pharmacies and supermarkets and it’s cheap – around the same price as a cup of coffee and it lasts a whole lot longer.
Be gentle when flossing and avoid ‘snapping’ it against your gums, instead, use a zigzag motion. Take your time cleaning between every tooth, remembering if two teeth are touching there’s likely to be food trapped. Speak with your dentist about the right way to floss. They’ll be happy you did.
Five top tips for a great summer smile
Don’t forget to brush your teeth twice each day and floss every day. Set a timer on your phone for 2 minutes morning and night and spend a little time brushing each surface of every tooth and your tongue as well. Spit out the toothpaste but don’t rinse – the fluoride in the toothpaste will work wonders on your enamel by making it strong. And take your toothbrush if going away. Missing brushing at night can increase the risk of tooth decay and sharing toothbrushes is never a good idea.
Think before you drink. Water is the best beverage if you’re thirsty and will help to keep your teeth decay free. Soft drink, sports drinks, flavoured water and mixer drinks all contain varying amounts of sugar and electrolytes which can lead to tooth decay. So include water in your summer esky!
Try to limit your snacking and stick with three meals and two snacks each day. Each time you eat, the acid level of the mouth drops which can cause the surface of the teeth to soften and start the tooth decay process. Your saliva plays a really important role in protecting your teeth by neutralising acids, but It takes up to 20 minutes for this to happen. The more frequently you snack, the less time you give saliva to protect the teeth. If you need a snack, aim for something healthy. Dairy foods, fruit and vegetables, nuts, crackers and apples are all tooth friendly. Take a plate of healthy snacks to share and watch them disappear.
Give smoking a miss and stay clear of other smokers. Apart from the damage to your lungs, smoking can damage the gums, cause bad breath, affect taste and stain your teeth.
Consider if stress is affecting your mouth or jaw. Tooth clenching, grinding, mouth ulcers and cold sores can all be signs of stress and anxiety. Speak with your dentist if you feel stress is affecting you in anyway, including your mouth. Even holidays can be stressful, even though they’re not meant to be.
Speak with your dentist about:
Caring for your teeth and gums so the rest of your body stays healthy as well. Don’t wait until there’s a problem or you have pain. It’s important your dentist is monitoring your oral health regularly.
Dentists at Pacific Smiles Dental will be available over the summer break, so book an appointment for your oral health check. There’s no more important New Year’s resolution than to have a healthy smile.