Oral health: Expert warns that the heatwave could leave you with a ‘dental emergency’

Dr Richard Marques gives tips on keeping teeth healthy

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“We prepare our bodies for summer by applying sun cream to protect our skin and wearing sunglasses to shield our eyes, but how do we prepare our mouths?” said Dr Khaled Kasem, Chief Orthodontist of Impress. “Few of us are aware of the damage a change in temperature can cause to our teeth.”

In a desperate attempt to cool down, you might be reaching for anything cold.

However, the expert warned that while chewing on ice could feel refreshing, it could also lead to a dental emergency.

Dr Kasem said: ”In the hot weather, it’s common to rely on ice to keep you cold, but chewing is a bad habit many Brits have.

“Ice is just frozen water so it can’t be that bad, right? Wrong!

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“Chewing on hard substances like ice can leave your teeth vulnerable to dental emergencies such as chipped, cracked, or broken teeth, or loosened crowns.

“Whatever your cooling agent of choice, remember your teeth are with you for the rest of your life so you don’t want to risk dental emergencies for five minutes of relief.”

However, ice coldness isn’t the only threat to your teeth during the heatwave as the expert explained that temperature changes and dehydration can also take a toll on your oral health.

The constant temperature changes your teeth face in the summer could cause your tooth enamel to crack.

The doctor said: “Tooth sensitivity is common, especially in summer when you’re sipping on an ice-cold beverage or relaxing with an ice cream, but why is that?

“As temperatures change with the seasons, the protective enamel on your teeth will expand and contract at different rates, leaving dentine (the layer beneath the enamel which covers the outside of the teeth) exposed.

“This will cause your teeth to feel more sensitive.

“There’s nothing you can do with the weather, but there are steps to keep sensitive teeth at bay – sticking to room temperature drinks rather than ice-cold is a start but switching to a sensitive toothpaste will also help.”

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With the scorching heat, you’re more likely to get dehydrated which consequently slows down your saliva production.

Dr Kasem said: “Saliva is essential for washing away any bacteria or food and drink particles; leaving these to fester and stick to your teeth can and will increase your risk of developing tooth decay and cavities.”

That’s why he recommended having at least two litres of water daily to keep you hydrated.

The last factor putting your oral health at risk are outdoor sport activities.

He said: “You’ve been waiting all year to get involved in outdoor sport activities.

“But doing so could land you with micro injuries such as chips and cracks in your teeth.

“It can be difficult to spot such injuries when you’re in the midst of a game, so wear a mouthguard for physical activities if you can.

“That way if an accident does happen, you’re less likely to land yourself in a dentist’s chair.”

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