Hydration for the Summer
June 12, 2012 by deanna
As the warm weather of the summer months nears, it is great to hear all your summer plans when you visit the office. It seems that we are all set with varying plans for summer, from soccer and baseball to zoo visits and boating trips. Whatever your plans are, be sure to keep hydrated in the sun and summer heat!
On a trip to the zoo a couple of summers ago, my young niece managed to convince me to buy her a popsicle to “keep from becoming dehydrated” (who was I to argue with a 3 year old bearing such a great vocabulary?). She knew she’d gotten her way with the sugary treat, as you can imagine. Thinking back to that great summer day, it occurs to me that we tend to hydrate ourselves with an array of consumables and should give some thought to their effects on our teeth. Of course, the correlation between sugar and cavities has been well documented over many years, but did you know that there is a growing concern with erosion of the teeth of both children and adults alike?
In a healthy mouth, saliva naturally has a neutral pH value. Consumption of many beverages will drop the pH of the mouth to an acidic level, making teeth more vulnerable to cavities and to erosion, the wearing away of tooth structure. Carbonated drinks, sports drinks, energy-in-a-can, and fruit juices are big culprits with pH values nearing that of battery acid . . . ew!
While water is the preferred health-wise drink year-round and avoidance of the tasty alternatives (like canned lemonade and sports drinks of varying name brands) is your best bet for summer hydration, here are a few tips for reducing the risk for enamel erosion:
1. Reduce intake of carbonated, sugar-filled and fruit juices.
2. When you do consume these drinks, do so through a straw to help guide the fluids away from teeth and toward that back of the mouth.
3. Consume these drinks quickly as opposed to sipping frequently over a longer period. This reduces the amount of time teeth are in contact with the fluids and exposed to the resulting acid attack.
4. Avoid “swishing” acidic fluids in the mouth.
5. Rinse your mouth with water following acidic drinks to help neutralize.
6. Chew sugarless gum to aid in stimulating saliva, our natural buffer.
Good luck, as you plan your summer fun and keep these tips in mind, as you prepare your picnic baskets. We will look forward to hearing all about your summer adventures at The Tooth Doctors!