As the summer starts to heat up, you might be looking to grab some of your favorite summer treats to go along with all that fun in the sun. Be careful, though, because some of your top summer snacks can cause tooth decay, and it’s best to take everything in moderation to protect that healthy smile. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re out there enjoying the great summer weather.
Summer Snacks That Can Hurt Your Teeth
Delicious summer treats aren’t that hard to identify. Delicacies like ice cream, popsicles, lemonade, sports drinks, and candy are popular choices on a hot summer day, and provide ample satisfaction on account of their high sugar content.
That sugar, however, is what can be damaging to your teeth. It’s not the sugar itself that’s the problem, though, but rather, the chain of events that takes place after you eat something that has a lot of sugar in it. Sugar, as it turns out, is a magnet for harmful bacteria that feed on it. These bacteria, in turn produce acids that can wear down the enamel on your teeth, leaving them more vulnerable to damage.
Now, the saliva in your mouth works to replenish protective minerals for your teeth, but if you eat sugary foods with enough frequency, your saliva is fighting a losing battle, and the dissolving effects of those bacterial acids can wear away at your pearly whites, causing tooth decay and cavities.
Research bears this out, showing that the consumption of sugary drinks has a direct correlation to cavities, and sticky snacks like candy can linger in the mouth, gradually releasing a steady source of sugar for bacteria to feed on, and giving that bacteria more time to release harmful acids that will damage your teeth.
And it’s not just the sugar content that can harm your smile. The hard ice from treats like popsicles can wear at your enamel, and starchy foods like potato chips, tortillas, and crackers tend to linger in your mouth, eventually causing cavities.
The bottom line, though, is that reducing sugar intake can decrease the likelihood of tooth decay, so as a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to limit your consumption of sugary snacks whenever possible. This doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in a tasty treat from time to time, but remember, moderation is best, and knowing what foods to substitute for tempting summer delights will help you protect your smile.
What Foods to Choose Instead
The Right Foods to Improve Your Dental Health aren’t that hard to track down. In fact, there are a few easy substitutions you can make this summer that are less harsh on your teeth and equally enjoyable in terms of flavor. For instance:
- Instead of ice cream, go with some creamy frozen yogurt.
- When you’re in need of hydration and craving a sugary sports drink or soda, substitute with some infused water.
- Around the campfire, ditch the s’mores and try roasting up some tasty hotdogs.
- You can easily swap in some delicious fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, in place of your usual candy treat.
Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be able to cut down on your summer sugar intake, protecting your teeth and smile in the process.
Making the right food choices is just the start of preserving your summer smile. Don’t forget to schedule your next teeth cleaning appointment with one of our top dentists today, and keep your teeth looking healthy through the summer months and beyond.