As the temperatures begin to rise, it’s tempting to reach for ice cream, popsicles and other sugary summer treats. As you probably know, these popular snacks aren’t the best choices for maintaining a healthy grin. Here’s the good news, there are plenty of smile-friendly summer snacks that satisfy the need for something sweet, refreshing and oh-so satisfying. Make those other goodies an occasional splurge and your teeth will thank you.
Pineapple Each Day Keeps the Dentist Away. Healthy teeth require a diet filled with colorful fruits and veggies. Pineapple, watermelon, berries and other summer fruits are all top picks because they are high in vitamins and minerals. Any option with a high water content also helps to stimulate saliva to rinse away food particles and harmful bacteria. Three exceptions to the fruits-and-veggies rule are pickled veggies, fruits/juices with added sugars or syrups and citrus fruits. Try to watch how many pickles, lemons, limes, oranges and anything canned in syrup you’re consuming, as the sugar and acidity can often break down enamel. This makes teeth vulnerable to cavities and other dental issues.
Buy Some Peanuts, Skip the Crackerjacks. One of the best parts of summer are the trips to sporting events, drive-in movie theaters and outdoor concerts. These also tend to be events where snacks are part of the overall experience. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” basically includes a menu right in the song! Fortunately, nuts, seeds and butter-free popcorn are all great snack choices for your smile.
Dairy and Dental Health Go Hand-in-Hand. While ice cream should be limited due to its high sugar content, dairy overall tends to be a good thing for teeth. If you love yogurt, you’re in luck. Foods like yogurt are also high in calcium, which helps strengthen and protect teeth. Many foods in the dairy section of the food pyramid have probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help keep harmful bacteria at bay. You can also make a pretty tasty ice cream substitute by using frozen bananas as the base and mixing in regular or plant-based milk.
Beware Your Beverage Choices. Foods aren’t the only thing that have an impact on your oral health; what you drink matters, too. Try to consume soda, iced coffee and tea, and sports drinks in moderation. Many of these beverages contain high amounts of sugar, or are prone to staining or yellowing your pearly whites. One of the best ways to protect your smile from these liquids is fluorinated water. The fluoride in the water helps to strengthen and protect teeth. After consuming a beverage on this list, follow it up with a glass of water to limit the effects.
Enjoying certain foods and beverages in moderation and brushing and flossing daily, everyone can enjoy a delicious summer snack without compromising a healthy smile. Schedule your next dental appointment at TenderCare Dental, where our team of skilled professionals tend to your individual dental needs. With eight locations around the Portland area, you’re never far from the best in dental care!