Looking after your oral health during a heatwave
Although the temperature has dropped a few degrees as we write this blog, most of you will be aware that a heatwave is coming early next week with temperatures expected to be in the mid to high 30s. While this will cause some to rejoice, it will be more problematic for others who will do all that they can to stay out of the heat. But did you know that the hot weather can also bring challenges for our oral health too?
Even if the extreme heat doesn’t last for long, there is still a lot of summer left and in today’s blog our Cygnet Dental Practice team take a look at what our Wickford patients can do to help them keep their teeth and gums in good health during the hotter weather.
Stay well hydrated
One of the most important things that you can do in hot weather (or any other time really) is to make sure that you stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Make sure that you drink it regularly and don’t wait until your mouth feels dry before you do so. A dry mouth provides ideal conditions for potentially harmful oral bacteria to multiply more quickly. This can lead to problems that include tooth decay but also gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Drinking plenty of water will also help to flush away bacteria and sugary food products that have become stuck to your teeth and gums.
Avoid too many sugary treats
When the temperature rises significantly, it can be the easiest thing in the world to reach for something cold and refreshing. All too often this turns out to be cold fizzy drinks or ice cream etc. While these can be very satisfying, they are also high in sugar and also quite sticky, meaning that sugars are likely to remain stuck to your teeth and gums for a significant period of time. If you drink water too (see above) that will help, but it is best to avoid these altogether if possible and stick to water. If you do drink soft drinks, try to keep these to a minimum, Many of them are not only high in sugar but also acidic too and this can contribute to wearing down of the enamel part of the tooth, leaving them more vulnerable to decay and tooth sensitivity.
Don’t bite ice cubes
Most dentists will see patients who have chipped or broken teeth because they have used them for purposes they were not designed for. You should never attempt to open bottles, crisp packets etc with them. One similar problem that occurs more during the hotter weather is the biting, or crunching, of ice cubes. Whilst this might feel quite satisfying, it is a risky thing to do and a broken tooth is not uncommon when people attempt this. Wait for the ice to melt and then drink the cold liquid by all means, but remember that your teeth are not designed for breaking ice and significant damage could follow if you attempt it.
Alcohol often contains high quantities of sugar but this is not the only reason that you should keep your alcohol intake to a moderate level, especially during hotter weather. Alcoholic drinks may feel refreshing but they will dehydrate you. If you drink a lot in hot weather and don’t drink water too, you may well find yourself feeling worse for wear much quicker than you normally would. This can have a number of health implications including sunstroke and sunburn if you fall asleep in the sun, but one of the biggest risks is accidents.
Falls and collisions with hard objects can result in broken or knocked out teeth. If this happens, you should consider whether you need to go to the local A&E to check for any head trauma first, and once you have done this or decide not to, you should call our Wickford dental practice to arrange an emergency appointment as soon as you can. Far better, of course, is to not drink to the point where this is likely to become a problem.
Maintain a good cleaning regimen
Finally, the hot weather can be fun but is also very tiring for many of us. However tired you feel at the end of the day, don’t skip your bedtime teeth cleaning regime. Brush your teeth well and use dental floss to remove food and bacteria from between the teeth. Although we generally tell you not to rinse your mouth after brushing, if you feel that you may be dehydrated, remember to drink plenty of water before you go to bed.
The Cygnet Dental Practice offers both NHS and private dental care, however NHS places are limited so please call for availability. Whether you need help in maintaining a healthy mouth or would like to take the opportunity to improve the appearance of your teeth with our cosmetic dental treatments, we are here to help you. You can contact our friendly reception team to make an appointment by calling us on 01268 733078.