Summertime is a time of both activity and relaxation. Most people look forward to lazy days by the pool or exciting days at the water park. While enjoying your vacation, you may not think very critically about what you eat or how it affects your dental health. Ice cream, snow cones, sodas, and candy are fun choices, but they can also introduce an abundance of sugars and starches that attack your teeth and weaken their defenses. Luckily, however, you do not have to abstain from the usual treats to protect your oral health. Waco dentist Dr. Corbet Locke gives these tips for enjoying the tastes of summer.
Tips for Summer Snacking
- There is no way around it–water is the best choice for hydration, especially during the warm summer months. Sweet iced tea, lemonade, sodas, and juices may seem much more preferable to a bottle of flavorless water, but the sugar contained in these drinks is bad news. Refined sugars lower the pH (acid-alkaline relationship) of plaque. Acidic plaque attacks your tooth enamel and saps minerals from your teeth. If you drink a sugary beverage, use a straw if possible. The straw will minimize contact between your teeth and the sugary ingredients of your beverage. After you finish, rinse your mouth with water to flush out the sugars and reduce the chances of acid attacks.
- Candy goes almost hand in hand with summer for children. Unfortunately, candy can usually contain even more sugars than the above-mentioned beverages. Dr. Locke advises eating treats such as a candy bar or ice cream sandwich that can be eaten in one sitting, as opposed to snacking on a bag of sugary candies throughout the day. The longer your teeth are exposed to sugar, the more potent the attacks on your teeth will be. Rinsing your mouth with water after a snack is also a good idea if a toothbrush and toothpaste are unavailable.
- The act of chewing is good for your teeth because it produces saliva, which contains essential minerals (i.e., calcium and phosphate) that are also found in your enamel. When acidic bacteria attack your enamel, these minerals are siphoned out of your teeth, reducing your enamel’s ability to remineralize. Chew sugarless gum to generate saliva and increase your protection against tooth decay.
Summertime provides an ideal atmosphere for the family to attend routine dental checkups because schedules are usually less demanding. To learn more about protecting your oral health this summer, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Corbet Locke, call our Waco dental office at (254) 776-4888. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding communities.