During the summer months, we spend more time outside, soaking up the sun and all its added benefits. Though, the summer can also be a dangerous time for our health and can bring some negative consequences to our dental health. When preparing for the summer, it is best to take a holistic approach to our health and ensure that we care for every part of ourselves, including our mouths. Here is what the summer can bring to our dental health and how to maintain good dental hygiene during the season.
Benefits of the Sun
We already know how important the sun is for our lives, from growing food to creating energy. But it also has added benefits for our teeth. Vitamin D, the essential nutrient we absorb from the sun’s UV rays, helps prevent decay and keep our teeth strong. Vitamin D works alongside calcium to strengthen our bones and teeth. Vitamin D can also guard against inflammation caused by cytokine production that leads to periodontal disease.
Though the sun has added benefits along with the warmth it brings us, there are risks to our skin and mouth that you should look out for.
Negative Effects of the Sun
Overexposure to the sun can lead to damage to the lips. Too much damage cannot be fixed with just sunscreen and chapstick. Sun damage to lips can lead to precancerous growths and skin cancer.
The sun can also lead to dehydration which can affect our dental health. Saliva is essential in washing away food and bacteria in our teeth and gums to keep them healthy. A dry mouth can increase the risk of dental decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Overexertion and sun exposure in the summer that leads to dehydration can decrease your saliva and increase your risk of dental disease.
For some, the sun can also experience cold sores when exposed to too many UV rays, requiring medical attention in extreme cases. A study also found that the sun can increase sensitivity, causing patients to miss out on summer treats.
How to Keep Your Smile Shining Bright
Luckily, you do not have to avoid the sun entirely in the summer to avoid the risks of dental disease. Maintaining dental hygiene is key, especially in the hot summer months.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss
- For sensitive teeth, consult a dental specialist for treatment options
- Wear sunscreen and lip balm that contains sunscreen when going outside
- Wear a hat that shields your face from the sun
- Stay hydrated and pack reusable water bottles when going outside for extended periods
- Visit your dentist at least every six months to maintain your dental health
Visit a Dental Specialist
While you should visit your dentist every six months, if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort in your teeth or gums, you should contact a dental specialist as soon as possible. At Four Rivers Periodontics and Implant Specialists, we can provide cleanings and exams to help protect you from the adverse effects of the sun and make sure you spend your summer the way you want.
Contact our team at (636) 242-6450 or visit us online to learn about our dental treatment plans today.