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3 Surprising Summer Staples That Can Damage Your Smile

By Caroline Jacobson on May 31, 2016 in Dental Health

We've heard it all before: Summer's sugary treats can harm teeth. Running on a pool deck can result in dental disaster. Though they're important, watch out for these 3 not-so-predictable pearly white pitfalls this summer:

• Garden Hoses

Though it's true tap water is beneficial because it contains fluoride, hose water is NOT tap water. You could be slurping a chemical cocktail. Nearly 40% of commercial hoses contain high levels of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a chemical that contains lead. Not only is it toxic to your body, lead exposure promotes tooth decay. And the chemicals found in many hoses make water harmful.

° Safe Solution: You can still garden with grace. Find a hose that's 100% lead-free and PVC-free. Consider one of these drink-friendly options. Once you get a safer version, let your hose run water until it becomes cold. Warm water is old water, and old water still contains contaminants.

• Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is thrilling—many are too caught up in undersea excitement to realize the excessive amount of pressure they're putting on their jaws. Nicknamed “diver's mouth syndrome,” this clenching combined with a change in water pressure, can cause jaw and tooth pain. It can also aggravate existing issues, such as TMJ.

° Safe Solution: Make sure you're in good dental health before you plan a deep-sea excursion. During your dive, make a conscious effort to avoid clenching too hard on your mouthpiece. Remember, slight smile soreness is normal. If jaw pain lasts more than a few days, see your dentist for a TMJ assessment.

• Inflatable Pool Toys

If you get light-headed from blowing up that beach ball, you may be tempted to pass the task to a pal. But blowers beware—when you share the spout, you also swap spit. And Streptococcus Mutans, tooth decay-causing bacteria, can be passed through saliva. Indirect contact can still contaminate objects, including toys. This is especially true for toddlers and young children.

° Safe Solution: Don't waste your breathshell out a few bucks for an air pump. If you must use your mouth, sanitize the spout before exerting air. And if you get light-headed, clean off that spout before the next mouth tries.

Don't let summer fun spoil your smile. Be safe and enjoy the sunshine!