Great big smiles in the great outdoors

Walking, hiking, and playing outdoors are terrific family-friendly activities during the summer months. But beyond the fun and great memories, you’ll also reduce your stress and see quite a few oral and overall health benefits.

Share your smile in the sun

The right park, trail, or campsite can be home to all sorts of fun.

Football, soccer, and disc golf will all get your heart rate up, exercise your muscles, and trigger the release of stress-reducing endorphins.

You can achieve the same benefits by walking, birdwatching, or finding scenic spots to photograph.

Parents with young kids can play tag or catch, collect leaves, look for unique animals, or find rocks to paint later.

In addition to improving your mood, regularly engaging in physical activities like hiking and biking can help lower your risk of heart disease, lung disease, and cancer.

Outdoor activity supports your oral health

Being active outside is more than a good time. It can also improve your oral health.

Beautiful views and the endorphins your body releases while you are being active can reduce your stress level. You’ll then be less likely to grind your teeth and bite your nails, so you can avoid chipped or cracked enamel.

Being active regularly also improves posture. This boosts your oral health by keeping your jaw in alignment, which can help reduce headaches.

Protect your skin and lips from the sun

To limit sunburn and cancer risk, wear sunscreen and lip balm with at least SPF 30 and reapply frequently. It also helps to spend time in the shade, and to shield your face, ears, and eyes by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses.

Help your smile by preparing nutritious food

Common summer snacks like s’mores, chips, and soda have lots of added sugar. The sugar can stick to your teeth, leading to cavities and tooth decay, Here are a few healthier options.

Meal ideas

A few meals that are mouth-friendly and camp-friendly include eggs, sweet potatoes grilled in foil packets, or kebobs with chicken and grilled vegetables.

Snack ideas

Fresh fruit, nuts, and veggies with hummus dip are all nutritious options that taste great outdoors.

Make sure to properly store and prepare food and to sanitize your cooking equipment to reduce risk of illness.

Wash snack and meals down with water to keep your mouth clean, reduce bacteria, and stay hydrated.

Keep up with your oral health

Prepare ahead of time so you have everything you need to maintain a fresh, healthy smile in the great outdoors.

Bring a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss so you’re well-equipped to care for your smile.

If you have trouble remembering to brush at night when you’re outside of your normal routine, set an alert on your phone or ask a fellow camper to remind you.

Stop eating after you brush. Snacks before bed will also feed the oral bacteria in your mouth, which causes harm to your teeth while you sleep.

A little planning goes a long way

The key to staying healthy while camping, hiking, or spending time outdoors is to prepare in advance. Make sure you have the gear, food, and oral health equipment that you need — then, simply enjoy your time in nature.

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