Summers in Oklahoma can be hard on the best of us. With temperatures regularly soaring over 100, anything you do outdoors can become an excruciating exercise in sweat and toil. But as much as you’re aware of the challenge on the rest of your body, you may not be aware of how hard the summer can be on your teeth. Here’s why summer can lead to more tooth damage than other seasons.
One of the dangers of summer is that everyone feels the call of the outdoors. We all want to get out and be more active. From trail biking to baseball, we all want to take advantage of the long summer days to be outside.
And, unfortunately, being active and being outside means there’s a greater risk for tooth injuries like chipped or cracked teeth. These injuries may be emergencies, but they always need some form of restorative dentistry, like a veneer or a crown, depending on the severity of the damage.
Dangers of Dehydration
Being outside exposes us to more of the Tulsa heat. And when you combine heat and activity, many of us experience high levels of dehydration during summer. Dehydration can be damaging to your teeth because it decreases the levels of saliva in the mouth.
Saliva neutralizes acid, controls oral bacteria, and remineralizes teeth, so when there’s less of it, your teeth are more susceptible to damage from oral bacteria (leading to cavities) and other threats to our teeth, including clenching and grinding.
Of course we want to combat dehydration, but it’s also important to remember that many of the most common remedies are themselves damaging to teeth. One of the biggest dangers that comes with refreshing summer beverages is acidity.
Many summer beverages can dangerously erode our tooth enamel. Beverages like lemonade, cola, and sports drinks are so acidic that they can rapidly strip the enamel from our teeth. And even if they don’t remove the enamel, they can weaken it, making the tooth more likely to chip and crack.
When we’re trying to cool down on a hot summer’s day, many of us reach for an ice-cold beverage. But this can also be dangerous to our teeth. Our teeth are vulnerable to thermal shock, so when you put an ice-cold beverage on a hot tooth, the result can be both painful and damaging. Tooth sensitivity to temperature changes is common, but teeth can also crack under the rapid temperature changes. These cracks might not show up until the next time you put the tooth under pressure, or it may crack outright. Many people with metal amalgam fillings find their teeth are especially sensitive to these kinds of temperature changes.
Are Your Teeth Showing the Wear?
With all the challenges that summer poses to our teeth, it’d be no wonder that your teeth might be showing the wear by the end of the season. Fortunately, there is help. Restorative dentistry can take damaged teeth and make them whole, healthy, and beautiful again.