Are You Giving Your Teeth a Sugar Bath This Summer?

by DR. SHIKHA BATRA D.M.D

With the summer sun scorching down upon us this summer, hydration is a key in maintaining a healthy body and mouth. These days, with a variety of sugary beverages available to quench thirst, it is important to realize the damage that these drinks can cause to an otherwise healthy mouth.

It is also important to understand the importance and need for fluoride treatments, both professional and daily home use, to maintain and strengthen teeth. Finally, an ice cold beverage on a hot summer day can be very refreshing; however, sometimes the sensitivity that it causes our teeth can be unbearable. This article will discuss this and other issues to help you and your teeth through the “hot” summer days.

Dehydration is a big concern all summer long. Plain old water is often times overlooked as a hydrating agent. The reality of the situation is that water is probably the best hydrator of all on a hot summer day. Although sugary beverages may taste better, they actually may cause more harm than good long term. The sugar is allowed to sit on your teeth through the day, slowly invading the hard or enamel portion of your tooth. If this sugar is allowed to sit on the tooth or teeth surfaces long enough, bacteria or “sugar bugs” form, invading the tooth. If the bugs invade the tooth far enough – a cavity and or decay forms.

This process is often times irreversible and must be attended to by a dentist. The dentist must remove the bacteria and place a filling. If you need to visit the dentist and you have a family, it may be worth looking for a surgery that caters for families, similar to the family dentist in Fredericksburg VA. This means everyone in your family can have their teeth checked on the same day as you’re having your problem resolved.

How can you protect your teeth from these sugars? Aside from the obvious of professional dental visits and following good oral hygiene instructions given by these professionals, simple things can be done to aid in reduced sugars accumulating on teeth.

First, saliva is a natural mouthwash. Saliva actually has cleansing properties to help protect teeth from bacteria. Chewing sugarless gum helps to stimulate saliva and protect teeth as well. Water will also help to cleanse your teeth in between brushing and flossing.

Fluoride is a mineral which acts as a vitamin for teeth. Fluoride aids in a process known as remineralization. Remineralization is the building or strengthening of teeth. When those “sugar bugs” attack the teeth, this process is referred to as demineralization. This is the exact opposite process as remineralization. If the bugs/bacteria have not attacked into the tooth too far, daily and professional fluoride applications may help to reverse or arrest the harmful effects of the “sugar bugs”. Daily fluoride treatments may be purchased in rinses over the counter or prescribed in toothpaste or getting a Dental Clean such as a rinse by your dentist. There are loads of dentists that you can go to, to get this dental clean. So really you have no excuse to not going to the dentist. There are so many out there, that you’ve probably just walked past one without realising. If you are struggling to find a dentist that is right for you, then why don’t you check out somewhere like this Fort Wayne Dentist to give you a better idea of what you could be looking for.

Lastly, often times, on a hot summer day, an ice cold beverage may give you that “zing” in a tooth or multiple teeth. What could it be? Usually, that “zing” is a tooth’s nerve reacting to the cold. A nerve will react by contracting or squeezing when there is a sudden change in temperature. Cold drinks tend to trigger nerves more when there is damage to a tooth or the gum and/or the both that holds the tooth in place. The sensitivity is a normal response if it subsides within 10-15 seconds. If the sensitivity lingers for more than 10-15 seconds, a dental professional should be consulted.

So while you are outside enjoying this beautiful time of the year, remember to be aware and protect your mouth and teeth from some of these summertime pleasures!

Dr. Shikha Batra is a general and cosmetic dentist in Troy, Michigan. For any comments, questions, and/or concerns feel free to contact her office at 248-362-1100.