Our awareness of the hazards of UV rays includes taking steps like wearing sunscreen and sunglasses. We focused a recent blog article on the importance of sunglasses to maintain healthy vision. But our awareness of harmful UV rays might not include the hazards to our oral health. So, let’s fill in the gap and make sure your smiles are protected from outside oral health dangers. Our focus on this topic also coincides with UV Safety Month, aptly designated as July, when summer pool parties and outdoor activities are at their peak.
In the summer, with our trips to the pool and beach, and all the time we spend outside, we remember to protect our skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays with sunscreen, sunglasses and hats. Now include your lips when you think about protection from the sun. According to Everyday Health, Inc., 63% of people who use sunscreen don’t protect their lips. Sun exposure can increase your risk for lip cancer.
Because the skin on your lips is delicate, it requires UV protection just like the rest of your body. When you stock up on sunscreen for the summer, include SPF 30 lip balm or lip sunscreen. Remember to look for an SPF that covers both UVA and UVB rays and just like sunscreen you use on your skin, reapply often.
Now that we’ve covered the overlooked step of UV protection for your lips, there are two other oral and vision health dangers we’d like you to watch out for.
Too much chlorine could hurt your teeth and eyes
The chlorine in the pool is protecting us from bacteria, but pools with too much chlorine can cause damage to the surface of your eyes and the enamel on your teeth. Wearing swim goggles might be the best way to protect your eyes and your kids’ eyes. Chlorine can cause eyes to become red and itchy because it washes away the tear film on the surface of eyes. Tear film is the thin layer that keeps your eyes moist and smooth. Washing your face and eyes with fresh water after a swim and using eye drops are some other things you can do combat the effects of chlorine on eyes. Concerning your teeth, the pH levels in the chlorinated water can erode tooth enamel, the hard shell coating that protects from decay. Most pools are regularly checked and monitored for pH levels, but it’s a good idea to remind your kids to keep their mouths closed while swimming.
Lifeguard says, “No running!”
When the lifeguard blows the whistle and yells at the kids, that lifeguard may very well be saving some teeth! With the slippery surfaces that surround a pool, a slip and fall could result in a chipped tooth. Playing in the water can also lead to hitting into pool walls or floors, and playing with friends can turn into an accidental elbow to the mouth or eye. Encouraging all to follow the pool rules can prevent a dental or eye injury, so remember–no running, no diving in the shallow end and no horsing around.
We want you and your kids to keep those summer smiles intact and those healthy eyes bright. Grab the sunscreen products, swimming goggles and your sunglasses, and enjoy the sun and outdoors.