It’s over 100 degrees outside, and that means one thing: it’s summer time in the Lone Star State!

Summer is fun for so many reasons: the kids are out of school, vacation time is plentiful, sunshine is abundant, laying by the pool with a good book is totally acceptable, and face it- the living is easy.

Unfortunately, a lot of the things that make summer fun can also be harmful to your smile. Follow these tips to keep your smile sparkling this season!

Ocean vs. Pool

Chlorine, which is used in most swimming pools, can erode and weaken teeth over time. The salt found in ocean water, however, decreases bacteria in the mouth, providing a healthy oral environment. The salt in ocean water acts a sort of rinse for your mouth. While we don’t suggest drinking gallons of salt water, the cleanse can help make your oral cavity a little bit cleaner.

Limited Sun Bathing

Overexposure to the sun can be harmful, but casual and limited time in the sun increases your level of vitamin D, which is essential to maintaining a healthy smile and body. Vitamin D and Calcium go hand in hand when it comes to helping your body. Calcium is needed to have healthy teeth and bones, so make sure you’re getting enough of each!

Refreshing Summer Snacks

Fruit is always a popular summer snack, so it’s important to know which fruits are better for your teeth. The high water content in watermelon helps clean teeth and gums. Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, can cause enamel erosion because of their high acidity. If you love citrus fruits, rinse your mouth with water after you eat them to wash away the acids. If you have a sweet snack, be sure to brush your teeth about half an hour after. By waiting to brush your teeth, you are giving your tooth enamel, your teeth’s natural protection, time to reharden. If you brush your teeth immediately after eating, you risk brushing away your enamel and having dental problems in the future.

Natural Remedies for Teeth Whitening

Believe it or not, strawberries are considered a natural remedy for brightening your smile. Rub them on your teeth to remove all stains. Rubbing the inside of an orange peel on your teeth can also help whiten them, or try brushing your teeth with a mixture of apple cider and vinegar.

Maintain Hydration

Dehydration is one of the biggest problems during our long, hot Texas summers. Dehydration can lead to dry mouth, which can cause serious tooth decay, so protect yourself by drinking plenty of water, sucking on artificially-sweetened hard candies, or chewing sugar-free gum to promote saliva production and keep your mouth moist.

For more summer fun and dental health tips, visit Waco dentist Dr. Corbet Locke‘s blog and website. To schedule a dental cleaning and checkup, call (254) 776-4888. Remember to enjoy your summer, but keep in mind that almost everything you do has an impact on your health!