When you are getting ready for a fun, sun-soaked outing, you already know you need to make sure you have your sunglasses (to protect your eyes) and your sunscreen (to protect your skin). Sun protective clothing options also abound with special shirts, pants, and hats. Did you know that you also have to be aware of the effects of the sun on your teeth? Since, of course, our teeth are not covered in skin, we do not have to worry about sunburn with teeth; however, sun exposure can still cause damage.
How Does Sunlight Affect Teeth?
Although it’s difficult to burn your teeth from the sun (bear in mind that it is still technically possible), you should take note that it is common to get sunburn on your lips. Lips are in fact the most susceptible to sunburn because they are so exposed to the elements.
How can I protect my lips from the sun?
Definitely do not rely on traditional sunscreens, instead look for lip balms with at least SPF 15 protection. Both men and women are subject to sunburn and sun damage on the lips, so there is a wide range of lip products available from chap sticks to lipsticks.
Exposure to the sun helps our bodies to create vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to good oral health as it is what allows us to absorb calcium. In that regard, some sun exposure is not only good for your teeth, but also essential for overall oral health. If we suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, our entire mouth will also have a calcium deficiency, leading to increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Whitening Your Teeth
Many over-the-counter teeth whitening options use UV-related lights to help facilitate the removal of stains from the teeth. These products include warnings to stay out of direct sunlight. This is because the UV-rays react with the chemicals used to whiten your teeth. If you expose your teeth to sunlight while using these products, chemical reactions will continue to occur and you are then at risk of serious burns to your teeth and the inside of your mouth. UV-teeth whitening also can result in increased sensitivity. If you are using these UV-based whitening products, it’s important to follow the instructions very closely letter.
There are plenty of reasons to smile in the sun so remember to keep up your oral hygiene routine: brushing and flossing twice daily, drinking plenty of water, and visiting Dr. Kim and the team at Laulani Dental Care every six months. Contact us soon to schedule your next appointment!
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