A great outdoor meal with family or friends is always a welcome way to celebrate the beginning of summer, but did you know that some of your favorite seasonal foods may be hurting your smile? Here are a few popular picnic foods that are good for your teeth to help you plan for your next picnic.
Things to include on your picnic shopping list:
- Watermelon is not just a healthy summer side dish; it can also trigger the natural cleansing mechanisms in your mouth. Since it’s 93% water, your saliva glands will be stimulated and able to clean more proficiently. Other fruits that are high in Vitamin C, such as berries, oranges and kiwi, are great options as well.
- Cheese is low in sugar and acid, but has a surplus of calcium to help strengthen teeth. It’s a feel-good food that makes everyone a little happier to “say cheese.”
- Celery and other raw vegetables high in Vitamin A are fibrous and are good for your teeth. But not many veggies go the extra mile like celery to break down into smaller strands that help keep your mouth clean.
- Yogurt is a popular refrigerator item for many people, but some neglect it. This summer, it’s time to refresh this simple treat. It may require you to bring a picnic cooler, but it’s worth it for the calcium and phosphates that will help to “remineralize” your teeth.
- Water is necessary to hydrate on a hot summer day, but tap water and bottled water that contain fluoride will make your dentist happy as well because fluoride helps to neutralize the acids that tear away your tooth’s enamel. In addition to strengthening your teeth, water will rinse any residue away. If you don’t want to splurge on bottled water, the tap water containing fluoride will do the trick! The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research states that 67% of the United States population consuming tap water is drinking water with fluoride levels that are good for your teeth.
Things to skip on your shopping list:
- Dried fruit can be a healthy snack, but when it comes to your teeth, try to avoid stickier selections. Dried, sticky fruits can get stuck to teeth, increasing the potential risk for decay.
- Peanut Butter & Jelly can fill everyone’s occasional craving, especially when packing for a day in the sun, but it’s a cavity culprit because you’re mixing sticky peanut butter with sugary jelly. The sticky sugars also glue together two slices of starch-filled bread, which famously gets trapped in the nooks and crannies of your pearly whites when eaten.
- Soda – both the diet and regular kinds – wears away the enamel of your teeth and makes your teeth more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. Skip the soda and stick to an ice cold glass of water.
- Barbecue sauce is a sticky and sugary concoction that can cause problems if it is exposed to the surface of your teeth for an extended period. Make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly to wipe away any residue.
- Popcorn pieces between teeth could cause an internal temper tantrum for any mouth cavity. When you pack popcorn snacks, be sure to brush and floss, even when you don’t immediately realize that chunks may be stuck between your teeth.
With proper care and intake in moderation, there is no need to worry. You don’t need to skip the above items every time you enjoy a picnic. When deciding to eat these items, try to keep oral health in the back of your mind. Rinse your mouth immediately following consumption to clear the residue, and brush and floss as soon as possible.
Enjoy the summer! Let’s keep the corners of your mouth confidently pointed upward all summer long.