June is the official start of summer. School is out and it’s time for vacations, barbeques, beaches, and plenty of outdoor activities. With all the exciting things to do during the summer and the variety of tasty treats, it’s easy to skip or forget about your oral health.
June is also National Smile Month. Don’t let oral health issues get in the way of your summer. Do your best to maintain a healthy mouth whether you are taking a trip, or enjoying fun under the sun with family and friends. Here are a few tips to help you and your family have a healthy and happy smile during the summer.
Stick to your oral care routine
Brush your teeth twice (2) a day. Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste for two (2) minutes helps remove food and plaque, the sticky film that forms on your teeth. Fluoride toothpaste helps protect the outer surface of your teeth (enamel) from tooth decay. Make sure to brush your teeth before going to bed.
Clean between your teeth at least once a day. Flossing helps remove food and plaque where a toothbrush can’t reach. Plaque that isn’t removed can harden into tartar. Tartar buildup between your teeth and gums can cause inflammation and lead to gum disease.
Limit sugary foods and drinks. When sugar comes in contact with plaque, acids are formed that attack the tooth enamel. Try fresh fruit as a sweet treat. Fresh fruit increases saliva flow to help neutralize the acids. There is a variety of seasonal fresh fruit during the summer.
Limit soda, juice, and other sweetened drinks. Try quenching your thirst with water or having milk with meals.
Oral health travel tips
Keep your oral care items safe and clean. Pack a soft toothbrush, floss, fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash, and sugarless gum. Keep your oral care items away from other travel items. Try placing your toothbrush in a resealable plastic bag. This helps keep it safe and clean. Rinse your toothbrush and let it air dry. This will prevent bacteria growth. Try ventilated toothbrush covers.
Visit your dentist before your trip. Schedule your regular dental visit before your trip. A dental exam can spot and treat any dental problems. The last thing you need is a dental emergency far from home. Your dentist may also provide you with valuable oral care travel tips.
Dental care tips when it is not possible to brush.
- Rinse your mouth with bottled water. This will help wash away food particles. Brush and floss once you are able.
- Chew sugarless gum after a meal or snack. Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes gets saliva flowing, which helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria.
- Try finger brushing. Apply toothpaste along your index finger or clean cloth and use circular motions to clean your teeth. This will reduce some of the plaque on your teeth.