3 Summer Smile Dangers You Aren’t Expecting

guy standing on rocks overlooking a small pond

From hiking and fly fishing to swimming and picnicking, Montana is the best summer playground. You enjoy it all, and you’re always ready for an adventure with your gear, sunscreen, bug spray, water…and toothbrush? That’s right. While summer can be plenty of fun, it also poses some unsuspecting dangers for your pearly whites. Watch out for these surprising summer dangers that could damage your teeth!

Protect Your Smile From…

Pool Chlorine and Tooth Discoloration

Chlorine regulates the pH level in pool water to keep it safe for swimmers. However, when the pH level isn’t properly maintained, it can cause enamel erosion on your teeth and discoloration.

“A few visits to the local pool a year is unlikely to have any adverse effects. Still, if you swim laps daily or soak in a hot tub every night, the possibilities of enamel erosion on your teeth are real – particularly if you over-chlorinate your pool,” notes Colgate.

There’s a term for swimming-related tooth damage, too: swimmer’s calculus. Swimmer’s calculus is most common among serious swimmers who spend six hours or more in the pool a week. The mixture of pool water and oral fluids leads to yellowish-brown or dark brown tooth stains.

Protect your teeth from chlorine by maintaining the pH level in your pool, keeping your mouth closed while swimming, rinsing your mouth with fresh water after swimming, and getting regular dental cleanings.

Summer Foods and Tooth Decay

Homemade ice cream, frozen popsicles, fresh lemonade, candied apples — are you hungry yet!? As delicious as summer treats can be, they can also be bad for your teeth. Watch your intake of sugary, sticky, and acidic food.

  • Sugar attracts bacteria that form plaque and cause tooth decay.
  • Sticky foods can loosen dental work and lodge sugar in the crevices of your teeth.
  • Acidic food can trigger high acid levels in your mouth, weaken tooth enamel, and discolor teeth.

Craving something cold and sweet? Eat watermelon! It’s 90% water, which is good for hydration and your mouth. Watermelon stimulates saliva production and helps wash cavity-causing bacteria away from your teeth.

Also, avoid chewing ice. Chewing ice can remove tooth enamel, crack a weak tooth, or dislodge a tooth.

“Chewing ice can create even further problems by damaging existing dental work like fillings, crowns, and veneers,” adds Colgate.

Can’t break the habit? Try switching to shaved, slushy ice. Order cold drinks with no ice. And crunch on carrots, apple slices, or chunks of watermelon instead of ice!

Physical Activities and Broken Teeth

Tooth trauma is common in the summer. Everyone is outside playing sports, climbing mountains, and unwinding in the sun. But it only takes one fall or blow to the face to break a tooth or knock one loose. Your dentist may be able to reattach the tooth fragment depending on the type of tooth damage that occurs. If the break is more severe, they may recommend a veneer or dental crown. Help protect your teeth by wearing a helmet and mouthguard during high-impact summer activities.

Get Ready with a Cleaning!

Don’t forget to take care of your teeth in the summer, too! The last thing you want on summer vacation is to deal with a dental problem that could’ve been avoided. Brush often, and don’t skip your regular check-ups and cleanings. Maintaining excellent dental hygiene is one of the best ways to get nice teeth. Call Dr. Dan to schedule your next cleaning today!