Summer is a great time of year. It’s the season that gets us out of the house on vacations, to work outdoors, and to attend backyard barbecues and outdoor parties.
But there’s one thing about summer that can be hard on your mouth – it’s HOT. And when temperatures are high, it’s easy to get dehydrated. That’s not a good thing for you mouth.
Saliva Is Your Friend
It might be uncomfortable to learn this, but we all have colonies of bacteria in our mouths. That’s natural and normal, so it’s nothing to worry about. Some of those bacteria, though, combine with a protein in our saliva to create a thin, sticky film called dental plaque.
Plaque is the major cause of gum disease and tooth loss. Fortunately, it’s very soft and is easily removed by regular and thorough brushing and flossing, plus regular dental cleanings.
Our saliva and the beverages we drink normally wash bacteria off our teeth and gums. That means plaque has less chance to form. But during the hot summer months, we can get dehydrated which decreases the amount of saliva we produce. And when we don’t drink enough to stay hydrated, plaque can gain a foothold in your mouth increasing your risk of infection and decay..
Water Is Best
There have never been more options in beverages than we enjoy today. But not all beverages are created equal in terms of their benefits and drawbacks. Sugary drinks provide fuel for the problem-causing bacteria. Acidic beverages like many sodas, a lot of fruit drinks, sports drinks, and even ice tea can trigger demineralization, or loss of tooth enamel.
Water is neutral (neither acidic nor base) and won’t erode your enamel. And plain water has zero sugar content so it won’t feed the bacteria.
Not only is water best for your teeth, it’s best for your entire body. Water helps maintain the balance of body fluids, energizes your muscles, and keeps your skin supple.
Drinking plenty of water is even more important for the health of your mouth if you’re one of the many people whose salivary glands just don’t produce enough saliva.
Beware of What’s on Your Desk at Work
It’s all too easy in the work environment to grab a beverage from the break room or a vending machine. The beverages that are available may not be the best choices for your smile or your general health. If your options include bottled water, that’s a much safer and healthier choice.
Regular Dental Cleanings & Exams Are Your Second Line of Defense
Brush and floss twice daily and drink lots of water and your mouth should be fine, right? Not necessarily. Mouths are complicated places with lots of tiny nook and crannies that are hard to reach and clean properly.
That’s why regular dental cleanings and examinations so vital to your oral health. Your dental hygienist will remove every trace of dental plaque. Dr. Kiran Gill’s examination will detect the slightest trace of problems so they can be dealt with as early as possible.
Call our Louisville, KY dental office today at 502-785-8695 or fill out our online form to request an appointment