Summer is a time for fun; it shouldn’t be a time for sickness or nights of pain. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens when we slip into unhealthy habits that tend to come with summer. Here’s what to avoid this summer so you don’t remember this summer for all the wrong reasons (like mouth pain and emergency doctor visits!).
Drinking a lot of soda
During summer, sodas seem to be everywhere you go—at every cookout, every company picnic, every concession stand. It’s really easy to grab a soda at every meal (and in between meals). It’s also really easy for the sugar from the soda to combine with bacteria in your mouth to form acid. The resulting acid can decay your tooth enamel, causing cavities.Scientific studies have shown a strong connection between soda consumption and tooth decay.
What to do: Try to avoid drinking soda this summer, or limit the amount of sodas you drink. If you do drink a soda, use a straw and drink water after you are done with your soda. Brush and floss afterward (and regularly!). Try to avoid sodas right before you head to bed, and sipping the soda for a long time. Schedule a dentist appointment and cleaning to keep your teeth healthy and avoid a painful mouth.
Lack of sleep
All the late night grill outs, camping trips, and no school leads to an unhealthy side effect: not getting enough good quality sleep. The amount of sleep each person needs is different for everyone, and so are the side effects. Eventually, a lack of sleep can lead to illness, injuries, and decreased productivity.
What to do: If tracking your activities helps keep you accountable, use an app or tracking device to monitor the amount of sleep you’re getting. Some tracking devices can also tell you how much deep sleep you are getting each night to make sure your sleep time is quality. Try to maintain a schedule throughout summer with a regular bed time (for you and your kids).
Smoking affects every part of your body, including your oral health. It’s also really easy to keep smoking—or smoke periodically—during social gatherings or while you are spending a lot of time outside in the beautiful weather. In addition to bad breath, smoking causes discoloration of your teeth, an increased chance of gum disease and oral cancers, longer healing times after dental procedures, bone loss in your jaw, and a host of other oral problems.
What to do: The best way to avoid the side effects of tobacco is to quit—which, as a lot of past smokers will tell you is easier said than done. Quitting smoking takes a commitment every day, and a lack of temptations. Throw out your cigarettes, and avoid routines where smoking was part of the activity. Focus on the positive effects of smoking: a healthier body, saving money, more time to hang out with your kids. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or research aids that can assist you during this difficult process.
Summer is a busy time, and it’s easy to cut corners to try to keep up, especially when you’re in a rush in the morning or at bed time. It’s really easy to forget to floss in the morning or at night. Unfortunately, that can lead to negative consequences later: bad breath, cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease (plus a few other downfalls).
What to do: Use these tips to teach your kids to brush and floss, and use some of those tips for yourself. Establish a healthy routine and stick to it. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you floss before or after you brush, as long as you do it.