On topic with Dr. Dill:

Enjoy the summer sun

Sunshine (or the lack of it) can have a big influence on your personal health and well-being. Let’s break down what’s good and bad about spending time in the summer daylight.

Look on the bright side

From stronger bones to better mental health, sunshine can greatly benefit your emotional, oral and overall health.

  • Vitamin D from sunshine helps your body absorb calcium for strong teeth and bones. It can also reduce your risk for heart disease and give your immune system a boost.
  • Moderate exposure to sunlight can greatly reduce blood pressure, although more studies are needed to determine why.
  • Sunlight causes your body to release serotonin, a hormone that helps you feel relaxed and calm. This can improve moods and help reduce stress-related issues like tooth-grinding. 
  • Releasing serotonin during the day also boosts your body’s production of melatonin at night, helping you sleep soundly.

To shield your skin and lips from the sun, apply SPF 30 sunscreen and lip balm approximately 15 to 30 minutes before heading out. This helps your skin fully absorb the SPF. Also, be sure to reapply every couple of hours to remain protected.

Catch some sun – but don’t overdo it

The benefits of sunshine are real, but as with many good things, moderation is key. Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause immediate issues and contribute to long-term health risks: 

  • Short-term overexposure can cause chapped lips, sunburn, dehydration and temporary but painful eye irritation known as photokeratitis.
  • Long-term overexposure can cause issues like the early development of wrinkles, skin blemishes, cataracts in the eye (which can limit your vision) and lip and skin cancer.

Visit your dermatologist and your optometrist for regular checkups – just like you visit the dentist for preventive care – to monitor these risks and catch any issues early.

Enjoy your time in the sun

Time spent under blue skies and sunshine can improve your oral and overall health. Just be sure to protect yourself from the risks of overexposure.

Meet Joseph Dill, DDS, Delta Dental’s Chief Dental Officer. With more than 30 years of experience in the dental field, including eight in private and public health practice and 20 in dental insurance, Dr. Dill provides expert insights and helpful advice to keep you smiling bright.