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Editorial for Volume 6, Issue 4

As the temperature rises and we embrace the joys of summer, our daily routines undergo a significant shift. From outdoor activities to changes in diet, the warmest season brings with it a unique set of challenges and opportunities for oral health. In this blog post, we delve into ‘summer dentistry’, exploring how the season affects our patient’s dental health and offering practical advice to them for maintaining a healthy smile under the sun.

The Impact of Summer on Oral Health

Summer is synonymous with relaxation and fun, but it’s also a time when our oral health can be put to the test. Typically, patients increase their consumption of sugary treats, cold beverages, and acidic fruits, which can elevate the risk of caries and enamel erosion. Moreover, they may indulge in outdoor activities like swimming, exposing their teeth to chlorinated water, which in some cases might weaken them.

Hydration and Oral Health

One critical aspect patients often overlook during summer is hydration. High temperatures lead to increased sweating, necessitating adequate fluid intake not just for overall health but also for maintaining saliva flow. Remind your patients that saliva plays a crucial role in neutralizing acids produced by bacteria in their mouths, thus protecting against tooth decay. A diet rich in citrus fruits like limes, lemons and oranges solves this issue. Supplements or mouthwashes to increase salivary flow may be recommended in geriatric patients during summer.

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Patient Counselling During the Summer Season: A patient oriented listicle

Adopting preventive measures during summer can help safeguard oral health while allowing your patients to enjoy all that the season has to offer. Here’s a listicle you can keep in mind to discuss with your patients in summers during patient counselling:

1. Mindful Eating Habits

Remind your patients that while indulging in ice creams or sipping on chilled beverages provides respite from the heat, moderation is key. Opting for healthier alternatives such as fresh fruits over processed sugary snacks can make a significant difference in reducing acid attacks on teeth. Additionally, using a straw when consuming acidic or sugary drinks can minimize contact with teeth.

2. Sun Protection for Lips

Often overlooked in discussions about oral health, lip care is vital during summer. The skin on our lips is thinner and more susceptible to damage from UV rays. Educate your patients, even the male ones, that using a lip balm with SPF protection helps prevent burns and reduces the risk of lip cancer.

3. Staying Hydrated

Reinforce to your patients that ensuring adequate water intake is essential not only for overall health but also for maintaining optimal saliva production. Ask them to carry a water bottle during outdoor activities to stay hydrated throughout the day. Supplements or mouthwashes to increase salivary flow may be recommended in geriatric patients during summer. In younger patients, a diet rich in citrus fruits like limes, lemons and oranges solves this issue.

4. Regular Dental Check-ups

Scheduling a dental check-up for the entire family at the beginning of summer can help catch any potential issues early on. Tell your patients that this proactive approach allows for timely interventions before problems escalate.

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5. Best Time to Start and Finish Lengthy Treatments

Summer time is additionally a vacation time with lengthy breaks for children and thereby less responsibility for their adult parents. Orthodontic treatments have a phase of discomfort which can easily be dealt with if started in holiday time, requiring no leaves from school later. Lengthy treatments like complete dentures, dental implants or smile designing, can be started and finished in the summer break time, and patients can then reveal their final transformation once the break is over!

To summarise…

Summer presents both challenges and opportunities for dental health care. By understanding how seasonal changes affect oral hygiene and implementing preventive strategies while counselling patients, you can help patients enjoy all that summer has to offer without compromising their dental well-being.

Author

  • Dr Nupur Shrirao is a consultant prosthodontist and a grammar Nazi! Besides dentistry, she enjoys giving stage performances and radio jockeying with All India Radio.

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Dr Nupur Shrirao is a consultant prosthodontist and a grammar Nazi! Besides dentistry, she enjoys giving stage performances and radio jockeying with All India Radio.

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