Summer holiday smiles

During the holiday summer season, many families take time to relax and find respite away from the hustle of everyday life. Taking time off with friends and relatives can be fun and full of making great memories.

Enjoying a break from your job, the office or factory, and the daily grind helps to improve your social, mental, physical, and spiritual needs.

Build a couple of days into your plans to take care of those preventive personal health needs so you won’t have to deal with them in the middle of the end of year frantic behaviour everyone experiences as the autumn and winter months approach

It’s great to head out on the open road, or spend time at the beach or the parks, clear your head, and generally find ways to get refuelled for life. Whether your time off is for a week, a fortnight, or a month, plan to wisely spend your holiday time doing what matters to you most — reconnecting with those who are most important to you.

As well, although it doesn’t rank very high on the laugh-o-meter, taking time to deal with personal health needs can be also very important during this break. One of the best things you can do is to visit your family doctor and dental practitioners.

Build a couple of days into your plans to take care of those preventive personal health needs so you won’t have to deal with them in the middle of the end of year frantic behaviour everyone experiences as the autumn and winter months approach.

Get these items handled now so you won’t be dealing with them later, and time is very short due to a hectic calendar or workload.

According to the British Dental Health Foundation, millions of holiday-makers could be putting their oral health at greater risk with their summer diet. The UK’s leading independent oral health charity recently issued a reminder to people that consuming too many acidic foods, as well as eating more sugary foods and drinks, traditionally associated with summer-time and holidays, can potentially increase the risk of dental erosion and tooth decay.

Risks of dental erosion and tooth decay are also increased during the holiday season as eating-habits and patterns often change. It is more likely that normal meal-times are disrupted during the holidays and snacking and grazing increases, which can cause multiple-attacks on teeth throughout the day.

Dental erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attacks from typical holiday foods and drinks like vinaigrettes, olives, red wine and ciders. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, and if it is worn away, the dentine underneath becomes exposed and teeth can look discoloured and become sensitive.

Tooth decay happens when sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque. Sugars from foods like ice-cream, seaside rock and fizzy drinks stimulate the formation of acids that attack the teeth and destroy the enamel.

Tooth decay causes cavities and results in the need for fillings. Whilst sugary foods and drinks are easy to identify, acidic foods and drinks that can increase the risk of dental erosion are not always easy to recognise. 

The habit of snacking and grazing in between meals is one that continues to creep into society. What people do not realise is every time you eat or drink anything sugary, your teeth are under acid attack for up to one hour. Eating and drinking naturally weakens the enamel on your teeth, and as a result, the Foundation recommends eating three square meals a day instead of having seven to ten ‘snack attacks’.

If you do snack between meals, choose foods and drinks that do not contain sugar, limiting the amount of time your mouth is at risk. Snacking throughout the day might be easy and convenient when on holiday, particularly if you have young children, but the frequency of doing so can be harmful to their teeth and have lasting implications.

The Foundation offers three key rules for good oral health – brushing for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, reducing the frequency of how often you have sugary foods and drinks, and visiting your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Also, all activities come with some risk of tooth damage. This is especially true with outside activities during the summer. The easiest way to protect your teeth is to get a simple mouth guard from the sports store.

Broken teeth can be mended almost ‘good as new’ these days, sometimes with simple fillings, sometimes with beautiful porcelain created to match your smile. Lost teeth can be replaced almost invisibly by a dental practitioner who specialises in cosmetic dentistry.

High impact sports
If you have a tooth knocked out, carefully place it in liquid – milk is the very best – or, if it’s clean, back in your mouth by your cheek and call right away for an immediate emergency appointment with your dentist. Additionally, dental aligners will protect your teeth from many traumas, so good for you. High impact sports will still benefit from custom guards, however – that’s always the safest way to go.

Summer holidays can be lots of fun. But don’t let your smile suffer just to have a good time. Keep your dental hygiene intact for the long term by scheduling a visit with your dental practitioner before the end of the year rush.

Plus, to save even more money, if you don’t have coverage with dental insurance, or you are running short on personal funds to pay for extra expenses after your holiday, consider a discount scheme for those preventive procedures. A good one to buy is through Healthy Discounts, administered by Munroe Sutton. You can save money and have a great smile.

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