6 Dental Care Tips to Help You Avoid a Dental Emergency This Summer
We love summer! The longer days, the warmer weather, the vacation time – we look forward to it every year.
If you’re like many people, you save up your vacation time so you can spend it with family and friends with similar schedules and time off during the summer.
You might go hiking and camping, share a beach house right on the water, or travel to some far away tropical destination.
You have every intention of enjoying yourself, but if a dental emergency comes up, it can put a wrench in your plans.
Thankfully, with some dental care tips from your Whittier dentist, you can avoid dental emergencies and have the best summer vacation yet.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
Pain is not the only indicator that someone is experiencing a dental emergency. Other symptoms include swelling, stiffness, and changes in the appearance of the teeth.
Following are some of the most common dental emergencies. If you have any of the symptoms or the conditions below, contact your Whittier dentist immediately.
- Broken tooth
- Lost filling
- Broken filling
- Lost crown or veneer
- Sensitivity to heat or cold
- Pain when chewing
- Facial pain
- Knocked-out tooth
- White bump on the gums
- Soft tissue injury that results in heavy bleeding
- Broken orthodontic bracket or wire
How Can You Avoid a Dental Emergency This Summer? Follow These 6 Tips
It’s impossible to foresee every outcome and avoid every dental emergency. Falling and breaking a tooth or playing a sport/game, accidentally getting hit in the face, and getting a tooth knocked out can happen anytime and to anyone.
However, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of an emergency this summer. Follow these simple tips from your Whittier dentist to ensure a happy, healthy summer break for you and your family.
1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Whether at home or on the road during your summer vacation, practicing good oral hygiene is imperative to your oral health. Brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day can significantly reduce your risk of dental decay and gum disease.
If you can, invest in an electric toothbrush. These brushes are well worth the cost because they:
- Are long-lasting
- Provide you with a more thorough cleaning experience
- Turn off if you’re pressing too hard, thereby limiting soft tissue damage
2. Wear a Mouthguard When Playing Sports
During the summer months, friends and family often play sports like soccer, baseball, and football.
While these games are fun, they present a risk for facial injury, sometimes resulting in broken or knocked-out teeth and even damage to the jaw.
Wearing a sports mouthguard might not feel like the “cool” thing to do, but sports guards have been shown to mitigate facial injuries.
Of course, if you or someone in your group experiences a facial injury, it’s best to have it checked out by your Whittier dentist or other medical professional. Though mouthguards can substantially reduce the risk of knocked out or broken teeth, it is possible that some damage has been done that isn’t immediately noticed. This can include:
- Jawbone bruise or fracture
- Traumatized roots
3. Practice Pool Safety
It isn’t uncommon for dentists to get emergency calls from patients who have been swimming. Oral injuries from pools and hot tubs are not uncommon. You can slip while walking around the pool deck or bump your mouth on the pool’s ledge.
To avoid a dental emergency this summer, remember that pool safety rules are there for a reason – to keep you and your loved ones safe. Don’t run around the pool. Wear goggles to ensure better vision. And avoid diving into the shallow end of the pool.
4. Reduce Your Sugar Intake
There are a lot of sweet treats available during the summer months – from snow cones and cotton candy at carnivals and fairs to iced mochas and cocktails at restaurants.
While your Whittier dentist would never tell anyone to avoid these sweet treats altogether, they do recommend limiting them.
The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars and release acids that attack the enamel, eventually resulting in dental decay.
Depending on the strength of their enamel and overall health, the decay process can progress rapidly for some people. Therefore, reducing how many sugary foods and beverages you consume is best. And if possible, brush your teeth, chew sugar-free gum, or rinse your mouth thoroughly after consuming sugary snacks and drinks.
5. Stay Hydrated
Vacations are a busy time. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything you want to do on vacation that you forget some health basics – like staying hydrated.
Drinking plenty of fluids (water is best) will help you survive the heat and provide you with more energy. When your body is dehydrated, it doesn’t perform all its functions properly, including producing enough saliva.
Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria that contribute to decay. But your risk of developing dental decay increases if you aren’t producing saliva. Drinking at least eight cups of water a day (more if it’s sweltering, you’re exercising, or you’re just sweating a lot) can help prevent cavities and the painful dental emergencies that can result from them.
6. Pack an Emergency Dental Kit
If you’re leaving town, don’t forget to pack a dental first aid kit. At the very least, the kit can reduce any discomfort you’re experiencing until you can visit your Whittier dentist when you get home.
You can purchase an emergency dental kit from a pharmacy or online. Another option is to make your own. The kit should include:
- Your dentist’s phone number for emergencies
- Sterile gauze
- Saline solution
- Dental wax
- Gum numbing gel
- A small container with a lid (to hold a knocked-out tooth)
Has It Been a While Since You Visited Your Whittier Dentist?
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of a dental emergency during your summer vacation is to invest in regular visits to your dentist.
Your Whittier dentist will evaluate your oral health, looking for signs of gum disease, oral cancer, dental decay, and other anomalies. When you visit your dentist at least twice a year, they can catch problems in the early stages. Treating issues when they’re just starting is easier, more cost-effective, and lowers the likelihood that you’ll experience dental pain or discomfort.
Some patients worry that their dentist will scold them for not scheduling regular appointments. Please rest assured that you will not be judged in our office. Everyone is here to help. We want the best for you and will do all we can to help you achieve and maintain good oral health and reduce your risk of dental emergencies.
Regular dental cleanings and check-ups can help prevent some dental emergencies. Contact our team to schedule an appointment with your Whittier dentist.