17 July 2019

The summer months are truly upon us.  For many, this might mean barbecues, festivals, holidays and trips out with friends and family. While the sun brings out a more active lifestyle, it doesn’t come without its pitfalls. Especially when it comes to the health of your mouth.

It’s important during this time to know how to look after your mouth, teeth and gums, with all three potentially at greater risk. The Oral Health Foundation have put together five top tips that will help you look after your oral health this summer in the best way possible:

1) Stick to your routine 

It doesn’t matter whether you are out socialising with friends or are up late watching Love Island, it is important to stick to your dental routine.  Looking after the health of your mouth should always remain a priority.  Resist the temptation to skip brushing because you’re preoccupied with something else.

No matter how eventful your summer may be, make sure you brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, alongside daily interdental cleaning.

2) Plan ahead

This time of year can be extremely hectic. That’s why it’s important to be prepared and give your oral health the attention it deserves before something goes wrong.

With holidays and trips away booked, it is a good idea to book an appointment at the dentist before you set sail.  This means that any small problems can be treated early and don’t leave you needing emergency treatment abroad.  It is also a good idea to stock up on manual toothbrushes or extra brush heads as well as travel-sized toothpaste and floss.

3) Stay hydrated, the correct way

Keeping hydrated, especially in warmer weather is important for the health of your mouth and your general health too.  Be sure to make the right choices when choosing tooth-smart beverages. Water and milk are the best options for our oral health. They will help keep you both hydrated and refreshed.

Try to avoid those drinks high in sugar and acid.  Fizzy drinks, fruit juices and energy drinks can be harmful for your oral health. If sipped throughout the day, they can lead to tooth decay and dental erosion.

4) Keep your teeth out of harm's way

According to our latest research, nearly two-in-three Brits (65%) are regularly putting their oral health at risk by using their teeth as tools for jobs they weren’t intended for.

Summer provides plenty of opportunity for food and drink on-the-go and outside of the home.  Please avoid using your precious teeth to crack open bottles and packets.  Or use them to hold or carry things when your hands are full.  Thousands of unnecessary accidents happen every year when teeth are used inappropriately.

Stick to using your teeth for what they were designed to do – chewing food to make it digestible. We could all do without shifting, broken or cracked teeth.

5) The right amount of sun for healthier gums

Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D which plays a key role in a healthier immune system.  Research also shows that it can give your oral health a boost by helping to prevent gum disease.

Having healthy gums means you can keep your teeth for longer. Gum disease is also linked to heart health, mental health and diabetes so getting out in the sun could be a great choice for a healthy mouth.

Be sure not to stay out in the sun for too long – the dangers are well documented.  To stay safe, you should always use the appropriate factor sunscreen and don't forget to protect your lips too as this is an area many people forget. Remember, the longer you stay out in the sun unprotected, the more susceptible you leave yourself to serious health problems.

By following these recommendations, you can enjoy your summer to the full and keep your smile healthy and happy! If you need any further advice on any oral health matters, including any summer-related questions, please call the Oral Health Foundation helpline on 01788539780 or email [email protected].