It’s true—summer is almost here! For many of us, that means hot sunny days with swimming, lots of cold drinks and frozen treats, and lots of outdoor activities. Which of these things can affect your oral health? How much do you know about protecting your teeth during the summer? Take this quiz and see!
True or False?
1. Excessive exposure to the sun is risky for your skin, but not for your oral health.
2. Chewing ice is a good way to help stay hydrated in the summer heat.
3. Drinking sports and energy drinks to stay hydrated during the summer won’t have an effect on your teeth.
4. Artificially sweetened sodas and drinks can be just as harmful to your teeth as those made with regular sugar.
5. If you do eat or drink something with a high level of acidity, it’s not a good idea to brush your teeth immediately afterward.
6. Two summer foods that can help prevent dry mouth are apricots and cantaloupe.
7. Exposure to the chlorine in a pool won’t harm your teeth.
8. Custom mouthguards are a better choice than one-size-fits-all to protect your teeth during sports (during summer and all year round).
How did you do?
Here are the answers.
1. False. Excessive sun exposure could trigger a cold sore, which could be contagious. If you spend lots of time in the sun, wearing a hat and using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 are recommended.
2. False. The extremely cold temperature and brittle texture of ice can be damaging to the enamel of your teeth if you chew ice. Additionally, cravings for ice could be a sign of a more serious health problem. Here’s what you should know.
3. False. The sugar content of many sports drinks is high due to their carbohydrate levels. Sports drinks may give you a burst of energy, but they’re not mouth-healthy.
4. True. “Diet” drinks made with artificial sweeteners may be lower in calories, but their high acid levels can still lead to tooth erosion. Plain water or unsweetened teas are good alternatives.
5. True. Acidic foods and drinks can weaken your tooth enamel, and brushing weakened enamel could cause you to remove it. Instead, wait 20-30 minutes before you brush your teeth. During this time, the saliva in your mouth will help your teeth to gradually remineralize, making them ready for brushing.
6 True. Both apricots and cantaloupe are high in vitamin A, which helps fight dry mouth. But staying well-hydrated is also important, so drink plenty of water!
7. False. Pool water frequently contains chemicals that can kill potentially infectious microbes. These chemicals work by raising the water’s pH to a level that can cause your salivary proteins to break down. When this happens, your saliva may fail to protect your teeth adequately from organic matter that can lead to staining. Brushing your teeth before swimming and rinsing with water afterward will help to protect them.
8. True. It may be tempting to use an over-the-counter mouthguard, but one size does not fit all! A custom mouthguard is the best choice for any athletes in your household. At Winchester Dental, we can help. Talk to us about a custom mouthguard and keep your teeth safe!