The weather is warming up, and people all throughout the state of Florida are preparing for family vacations, visitors to the Sunshine State, and long holiday weekends. We’re often worried about showing off a great bikini body or getting a nice tan during this season – but what about your dental care?
A good tan can help your teeth appear whiter, but summer holidays and piling on the ice cream can wreak havoc on your dental health. Follow these tips for maintaining a healthy smile throughout this sunny season.
Pack a Dental Hygiene Kit
Taking a vacation doesn’t have to mean taking a vacation from dental hygiene. Have a dental hygiene kit ready to throw into your suitcase. This kit should include:
- Toothbrush and toothbrush cover
- Solid toothpaste tablets or an airplane-size tube of toothpaste
- Dental floss
- Airplane-size bottle of mouthwash
It’s easy to get out of the habit of flossing if you don’t have any in your hotel room. Even if you do forget, call down to the front desk at your hotel. Many hotels offer free toothbrushes, toothpaste, or even dental floss for guests. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Have a Summer Dental Emergency Plan
If you pack a first-aid kit while you travel, be sure to include items that will help you in case of a dental emergency. Experts recommend keeping the following on hand:
- Cold packs or a handkerchief
- A small container and lid (to hold any teeth that have fallen out of your mouth)
Also, keep your dentist’s contact information in your phone. Before you go on vacation, ask your dentist if they have a special line for emergencies. Falls, collisions, and other accidents can cause sudden damage to your teeth. Know who to call if this happens.
Buy a Reusable Water Bottle
Adults put themselves at a higher risk of dehydration when they’re outside all day sweating. Dehydration increases the risk for dry mouth and creates an environment where bacteria are free to grow and eat away at your teeth.
Get in the habit of having a reusable water bottle nearby at all times. Keep it in your car, clip it to your belt, or pop one in your purse. Reusable water bottles don’t just save you money or reduce the amount of plastic you throw away. They serve as a reminder to drink water and stay hydrated.
Rinsing after meals is another great habit. If you don’t carry a toothbrush with you to picnics or beach trips, your leftover snacks or meals could cause bad breath or become food for bad bacteria. A quick rinse after you eat will eliminate that risk and keep you hydrated.
Stick to Water
Filling your water bottle with a sports drink may hydrate you, but it could cause serious dental damage. Sports drinks are packed with sugar. Bad bacteria feed off of sugar – the more sugar present in your mouth, the stronger bacteria become.
Stick to water this summer for all of your hydration needs. If you’re drinking sports drinks for additional vitamins and minerals, consider taking daily supplements.
The same rules apply for refreshing lemonade, alcoholic beverages, and carbonated beverages with acidic ingredients. Drink these in moderation. If you do want to indulge in a sugary drink, follow up with a big glass of H2O.
No Ice, Please
Water keeps you hydrated and is good for your dental health. What about ice?
Ice is fine when you pop it in a water bottle or a cooler to keep things cool. However, ice isn’t a snack on its own. Chewing on hard substances can put you at risk of a chipped or broken tooth. Choose a piece of sugar-free gum if you do need to gnaw on something this summer.
Schedule a Summer Family Dentist Day
Experts recommend scheduling kids for a trip to the dentist when school lets out, rather than in the weeks before school is back in session. That way, if kids need to attend a follow-up appointment, you won’t have to take them out of school.
While you’re at it, schedule your own appointment for the dentist, too. You should be going in for check-ups twice a year. Schedule them all on the same day to show your kids that the dentist’s chair is nothing to be afraid of.
Don’t have a dentist appointment scheduled? Reach out to make an appointment and prepare your mouth for a fun, safe, healthy summer.