Summer is the season for easy livin' and fresh eating. But while the beach weather has many of us more conscious about our waistlines, our pearly whites sometimes slip out of focus. To up on your sexy smile, pay attention to these surprising habits that can cause dental damage:
1. Drinking fruit juice boxes
Instead of handing these out liberally to your kids, take a moment to consider what these sugary drinks contain. Yes, the label reads "fruit," but how much fruit does it actually have? Oftentimes, the answer is 0 percent.
Juice is also loaded with sugar. In fact, some juice contains just as much sugar and calories as a soft drink, according to The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. The bottom line: Although fruit juice is often perceived as healthy, many people don't realize it's packed with sugar.
2. Sucking on ice cubes
It's hot outside and after slurping down that glass of water, you've start crunching on ice cubes. But the brittleness and cold temperature of ice cubes can actually trigger microscopic cracks in the surface of the enamel and fracture teeth. While crushed ice is less threatening than bigger cubes, dentists don't recommend it.
3. Munching on popcorn kernels
Just like ice cubes, popcorn kernels spell trouble for teeth. These tiny brown nuggets put stress on teeth and can lead to fractures. No one wants a broken tooth in the movie theater.
4. Using teeth as tools
Ripping open a package or tearing the top of a freezy pop should be reserved for scissors. Still, dentists report that patients rely on their teeth for a number of odd jobs, from opening a bag of potato chips to straightening a bent fork tine to ripping a price tag off a piece of clothing. This process might traumatize your teeth, causing the edge of a weakened tooth to chip.
5. Skipping brushing before bedtime
The summer sun shines a lot later, meaning bedtimes often get pushed back. Instead of letting you or your youngsters off the hook for brushing their teeth before bed, remind them that a quick scrub is better than no scrub. This will prevent bacteria from gathering in your mouth while you sleep. In kid terms, the monsters under their bed might not be real, but the bacterial ones in their mouth can grow if they let them.