Now that the summer is almost here, there are sure to be many picnics, barbecues and garden parties that will be filled with fun, friends and food. Unfortunately, some of the staples of summer food can be particularly damaging to your teeth, which is why you should learn what they are now before you snack on them in the coming season. Luckily, most of these foods have sugar-free alternatives so you can still enjoy all of your favorite treats this summer.
Popsicles – There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than enjoying your favorite flavored popsicle. However, while this snack may be refreshing, it’s no friend to your teeth. Popsicles are often packed with sugar, and the artificial dye used to give them their bold colors may stain the teeth. Furthermore, the longer you expose your teeth to sugar, the greater the potential for damage. With a popsicle, you tend to lick it for a longer period of time than other snack foods, which means your teeth are exposed to that sugar for as long as you’re eating it. Thankfully, there are many sugar-free popsicles on the market that are delicious and tooth-friendly.
Popcorn – When the weather gets too hot to bear, many people head to the movies for a nice, air-conditioned break from the heat. If you love having popcorn while watching a film, you might want to switch to an alternative if you’re concerned about your teeth. Popcorn kernels can get stuck in the teeth and become a breeding ground for bacteria, and chomping down on them may cause teeth to chip, crack or break. If you’re going to eat popcorn, be sure to keep an eye out so that you don’t bite any un-popped kernels. Also, if your local theater has caramel popcorn- skip it. This snack is sugary, sticky and sure to end up in your teeth.
Pickled Vegetables – This one may surprise you, but according toSummerTomato.com, pickles can be harmful to your teeth. In the summer, you may love to put all sorts of pickled things on your hamburgers and hot dogs, but all of the acids and vinegar present in pickled items can be damaging to your tooth enamel.
Hard & Chewy Candy – You may eat more hard candy in the summer than you did in other months, since sucking on these treats may help combat dry mouth during hot weather. However, these candies are damaging in a number of ways. First, the longer you suck on them, the more sugar you’re exposing your teeth to, which could be very damaging. Also, if you bite down on these candies, you run the risk of cracking your teeth (even with the sugar-free varieties). Finally, pieces of chewy candies, such as gummy bears, can get stuck in your teeth and be difficult to remove with regular brushing and flossing. So unless you want to run the risk of having to make an emergency trip to the dentist, you should avoid them.
Ice – In the summer, you may love to chew on ice to keep yourself hydrated and cool when the weather is hot. However, chewing on ice is one of the main reasons why people crack their teeth, and dentists often encourage people to avoid this dangerous habit that many do without even giving it a second thought. If you really need to eat some ice to cool down, suck on it rather than chewing.
Are there any foods that we forgot to include? Let us know in your comments below!