Summer is here, and so too is summer food season. Whether it’s the boardwalk, the barbecue, the carnival or the ice cream truck, summer has no shortage of delectable treats we don’t typically get during the rest of the year- and that’s probably for the best. That’s because many of these treats are really bad for our teeth! If you’re headed out on vacation, it’s okay to indulge in a treat, but don’t overdo it! Here are a few fan favorite summer foods – and some healthy alternatives.
A boardwalk classic, what trip to the beach is complete without sweet, sticky, salt water taffy? Problem is, in addition to being pure sugar, taffy can be detrimental to your dental work. If you truly must indulge in a piece, try to limit yourself to just one, and brush your teeth well afterwards, but you may be safer sticking to something a little more tooth friendly – like a big slice of watermelon!
A carnival favorite, carmel corn combines sweet and savory for a taste that somehow hits different at the carnival. But it can also get stuck in your teeth and wreak havoc on fillings. If you really are craving popcorn, try lighter kettle corn, or buttered popcorn. They may still get hulls stuck in your teeth but they can be easily flossed out later – and won’t trap sticky sugar between your teeth in the meantime.
Another fair favorite, caramel and candy apples have a good heart, but its that gooey outer coating that will put your teeth in jeopardy. If you are really craving the flavor of spiced apple, opt for a glass of fresh apple cider, an apple fritter, or just a plain apple.
Cotton candy is a childhood favorite. This melt-in-your-mouth fluff is pure spun sugar, though, and it’s definitely not good for your teeth. While there isn’t really anything that compares to cotton candy, we recommend either skipping it all together, looking for a safer dessert (maybe a refreshing ice cream cone) or having just one piece – not the whole bag!
SLUSHIES AND SNOW CONES
Snow cones and slush will cool you off and give you a nice sugar rush in the meantime, but they also may deposit citric acid on your teeth along with all the sugar. Also, crunching ice can be dangerous for tooth enamel and fillings, so be very careful when eating them. If you do indulge, finish with a glass of water to rinse your mouth, and don’t brush for at least 20 minutes after consuming, to let your tooth enamel re-harden after being exposed to the citric acid. A glass of fresh squeezed lemonade will have the same effects on your teeth as any other citric acid, but the absence of the need to crunch ice may make this drink a bit safer for your smile.
Ultimately, we want you to have a good time on your summer vacation, and not to stress about your snacks, but just be mindful of what you eat and the potential dangers to your mouth! Enjoy your summer!