We’ve wrote a lot about keeping your kids’ teeth healthy during summer break, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the health of your own pearly whites. Use these tips to make sure your teeth make it through the summer without a cavity or dental emergency.
Some statistics say that close to 80% of Americans never floss. Don’t be one of them. Flossing prevents tooth decay and cavities , reduces the chance of gum disease, and can give you fresher breath because you are removing particles from between your teeth that can contribute to bad breath. A healthier mouth may also cost less for dental care and give you fresh breath.
Know your options to straighten your teeth
If you have a lifelong alignment issue that demands care, or a recent problem that demands braces, start researching options that can give you relief from your overbite or overcrowded teeth. There are three common options: traditional, ceramic, lingual, and invisible (we’ve outlined the pros and cons of each braces option here).
If your orthodontist thinks your condition can be corrected with invisible braces, consider Invisalign, one of the most popular brace products on the market today. The pros of Invisalign are clear: they are completely invisible, can still fix common orthodontic problems, and require less orthodontist visits (and maintenance). Invisalign also costs the same as traditional braces (at least at Area Dental Clinic!).
On the other hand, Invisalign does only work best for minor orthodontic corrections, is only available for teens and adults, and does requires discipline because you have to wear the trays 20 hours a day. If you have concerns about any of these areas, contact your dentist to determine what the best braces option is best so you have a whiter, brighter smile at the end of summer.
Limit the soda—especially before bed
As delicious as those sodas are at your next grill out, sodas, even diet sodas, contain sugar which can mingle with bacteria in your mouth to form acid. The acid from this reaction attacks your teeth and can decay outer and interior tooth enamel. Scientific studies have shown a strong connection between sodas and tooth decay.
If you do enjoy a soda, drink water after soda (or instead of soda), and swish it in your mouth to reduce the amount of sugar on your teeth. Make sure you brush your teeth after drinking a soda, and try not to go to sleep after drinking.
There are a lot of whitening products on the market; indeed it feels like you can’t watch TV without being bombarded with advertisements for teeth whitening products. Though it might be tempting to buy the first product you see—or the cheapest—proceed with caution and don’t buy the first product you see on the shelf.
If you are interested in whitening your teeth, talk to your dentist first. Your dentist knows your history and can recommend a product that whitens and keeps your teeth healthy and in prime condition.
Learn to cope with your fear of dentists
If you’re afraid of going to the dentist, you’re not alone. We’ve seen statistics that estimate the amount of Americans with a fear of dentists to be an estimated 30-40 million. Unfortunately, your dentist phobia can keep you from getting the cleaning and treatment that keep your teeth healthy.
There are a few ways to overcome your fear (and no time like the present to deal with it for the sake of your teeth.) If your fear stems from cost, schedule your appointment with a dentist that can give you a firm estimate before your appointment. If you’ve had a bad past appointment, choose your dentist carefully and bring along items to help you relax (i.e. headphones, scented oils, etc.) We’ve given you other tips for getting over your fear here.
Don’t miss a dentist appointment
Your calendar is full. The weather is beautiful. You have a vacation scheduled. You’re busy running to soccer and baseball and…there are a million reasons to miss your dentist appointment and 32 reasons to make sure you make it to your scheduled dentist appointment. That’s how many teeth an adult has, and that’s not even counting the studies that have shown that your oral health is linked to your overall health—and overall summer health.