Warm weather, sunshine and sandals— what’s not to love about spring and summer? As we all prepare for months filled with friends, food and hours spent outdoors, it’s important we remember that with new seasons comes new potential risks to our teeth. Everything from summer-inspired food and drinks, to sports and the non-conventional use of our teeth, raise new risks to our teeth that we may not be aware of.
To help your family have the safest and most superb spring and summer possible, we’ve outlined some of the most common risks below as well as how they can be prevented and protected against.
Teeth Are Not Tools
At some point in our lives, we’ve all used our teeth to tear open a package. During the spring and summer, it’s especially tempting to swap our teeth for a proper tool when opening a bottle or wrapper. These things, along with chewing on ice cubes are among the most common causes of broken teeth and other painful dental emergencies. If it requires a tool or utensil to open or break it, it’s not a good idea to try using your teeth. To prevent your family from damaging their teeth, aim to have the proper utensils handy at all times to minimize the temptation of using their teeth. This could mean attaching a pair of scissors and a bottle opener to your serving tray, mounting a bottle opener to your deck or outdoor space or even leaving a pair of scissors in the box of freezies in your freezer (as long as your kids are old enough). And when it comes to serving ice, try serving your drinks with crushed ice. This way your drinks will still be cold, but there is less of a chance of an ice cube chipping a tooth.
Summer Sports Require Mouth Guards Too
When you think of a sports mouth guard, contact sports like hockey, rugby, lacrosse and football are probably the first things that come to mind. However, summer sports like soccer, baseball, volleyball, skateboarding and mountain biking are all sports where wearing a mouth guard is equally as important. From a stray ball or cleat in soccer to a powerful spike in volleyball, your teeth can sometimes be the recipient of some tough love out on the field or court. Even catching a wheel while skateboarding or mountain biking and coming to an abrupt halt can have serious consequences on your teeth depending on your surroundings. The good news is if you or your child already wear a mouth guard for a different sport that same mouth guard can be worn for your summer activities too. And for athletes conscious of their appearance, many mouth guards are available in a clear option, camouflaging their appearance.
Limit the Summery Sweets
Like other seasons, sugary snacks can be an acid attack on your teeth. During the spring and summer, frozen treats like ice cream, popsicles and freezies are among the biggest risks. Now, we know these treats can often be irresistible when the temperature skyrockets, so we’re not suggesting boycotting these treats altogether. Simply, limit their consumption and offset them with healthy snacks to minimize the damage they cause. Luckily, spring and summer produce a wide range of local fruits and vegetables that seem to taste even better than during the winter months. Planting a small garden in your yard or taking family trips to “pick-your-own” produce stands are also great ways to get kids excited about eating fruits and veggies and reduce the temptation of sweets.
Make Sure Pool Rules Are Followed
Pool rules are something that should always be followed. Not just for the safety of your teeth, but for the safety of you and everyone around you as a whole. When thinking about our teeth though, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, pool-related accidents are the main cause of summer dental emergencies*. These can be caused by running around the pool, diving into shallow water or bumping your mouth on the edge of a pool when getting out or coming to the surface of the water. Accidents do and will happen, but ensuring your family knows and follows the rules of the pool could prevent the need for emergency dental work.
While these are just a few examples of risks that spring and summer pose on our teeth, ensuring you take the necessary precautions before taking part in any sport or activity could be the difference between needing and not needing emergency dental work.
What To Do In The Event Of A Dental Emergency
As hard as we try to prevent them, accidents are bound to happen once and a while. Knowing what to do between the time your accident happens and the time you arrive at the dentist office can limit the damage and make the process as pain-free as possible. Getting to the dentist immediately is the most important thing to remember, but you should also use warm water and cold packs to clean the area and minimize swelling. After that, use gauze to help stop the bleeding. If you completely lose a permanent tooth, place it back in your mouth (if possible) or use salt water or milk to keep it saturated until you reach the dentist.