Enjoy your vacation, but please take care of your smile!

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Memorial Day Weekend heralds the official start of summer, and for many of our patients, that means vacation time. Sandy beaches, cool mountain tops and family reunions beckon, and our team at Mitchell Dentistry wishes you a warm bon voyage – with one caveat: please remember your oral health while you are away.

We want to make sure you have fun and fond memories of your summertime travels, without the worry of a dental emergency or other oral health issues as a result of being away.

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Here are 10 recommendations to make sure you have a great time, and return with your healthy smile intact:

BEFORE YOU GO

  • Schedule a regular dental checkup before you head out for vacation. Wherever you’re going, you’ll be happy to have a clean, fresh professional cleaning before you go.
  • Make sure to keep our contact information handy in your phone or datebook, In case of emergency while you’re out of town.
  • Pack small – the more compact your oral hygiene items, the more likely you are to keep them handy – and use them. Opt for foldable toothbrushes, mini toothpaste and small bottles of mouthwash that will fit in your purse.
  • Remember your electronic toothbrush. It may seem more cumbersome but they come with a travel case for a reason. Easy to pack into your suitcase, and so much better for your teeth in the long run!

WHILE YOU’RE TRAVELING

  • Forgot your toothbrush? Rinse vigorously with water, or use toothpaste on your finger just to tide you over until you can buy one.
  • Store your toothbrush in a sealable plastic bag for travel, but don’t forget to open the bag when you arrive to give your toothbrush ventilation, preventing against the growth of bacteria.
  • Brush teeth with bottled water if you aren’t certain the local water is safe for drinking.

DURING THE VACAY

  • Just as we try to keep up with our exercise regimen, it’s also a good idea to maintain oral health through twice a day massage of your gums and teeth by brushing and once a day flossing. Your summer will be worry free with a brighter smile!
  • You will likely be drinking more fluids to compensate for sweating, and there is no better fluid for your body and teeth than plain water. Soda and lemonade taste good, but those acids and sugars will cause erosion and decay. Water is best!
  • We all tend to snack more on vacation, but try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and watch out for high fructose corn syrup – it’s not good for your teeth, or your waistline.

And one bonus tip for those weekend warriors who are highly active and athletic on vacation: remember a mouth guard for those sports where your mouth is at risk for injury. We want you to bring your beautiful smile back to Southwest Florida!

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. We love your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy summer from our Mitchell Dentistry family to yours!

All the best, Dr. Jim

3 Easy Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay

Tooth decay—also known as dental caries—is caused by the activity of bacteria around the teeth and gums. These oral bacteria feed on food particles and metabolize them into acids that attack tooth enamel, eventually cause tooth decay and cavities. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to keep the bacteria at bay, and prevent tooth decay. Good oral hygiene can even help repair the early signs of tooth decay.

Stay Consistent with Oral Hygiene

The number one most important thing you can do to protect your teeth from decay is to brush and floss on a regular basis. Twice-daily brushing, along with daily flossing, prevent the buildup of plaque by depriving bacteria of the food they use to make enamel-destroying acids. The night-time brushing is particularly important because saliva production is reduced when you’re asleep—so going to bed without brushing means your teeth are especially vulnerable.

Chew Gum after Meals

One of the body’s most important natural defense mechanisms against tooth decay is saliva, which contains minerals that strengthen teeth and enzymes that neutralize harmful acids. Chewing helps stimulate saliva production, so chewing sugar-free gum, or sucking a sugar-free candy, after eating is a good way to get saliva flowing and reduce bacterial activity. If you’re unable to brush your teeth after a meal, chewing gum is a good substitute.

Reduce Your Sugar Intake and Eat More Decay-Fighting Foods

The main food sources for oral bacteria are sugars and starches. These are the foods that bacteria use to manufacture those tooth-destroying acids, so the heavier your diet is in sugar and starch, the higher your risk of tooth decay and cavities. It’s especially risky combined with poor oral hygiene habits, since this combination means sugar and starch are left on the teeth for long periods of time, allowing bacteria to grow unchecked. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat sugary foods, of course, but when you do, it’s important to mitigate the damage by brushing or chewing sugar-free gum afterwards.

Dietary choices play an important part in the fight against cavities, and it’s not just about reducing your sugar intake. Foods like dairy products and leafy green vegetables are high in calcium and are great for strengthening teeth as well as bones. High-fiber foods help keep saliva flowing, and whole grains and vegetables contain nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins that are important for healthy teeth and gums.

Schedule your next routine checkup with James Mitchell DDS and keep prevention methods part of your dental care.