The summer means lots of time spent outdoors in the sun. It also means a chance to eat those summer foods that you’ve been craving all winter. But while these foods may be delicious, many of them may also be damaging to your teeth. Whether they contain sugars that lead to tooth decay or have hard surfaces that can lead to chipping, it is important to avoid, or limit, your intake of these foods in order to maintain healthy teeth.
Summer Foods That Can Damage Teeth
1. Sodas and Other Sugary Drinks. Sodas and sports drinks are popular year-round but can be especially refreshing in the summer. Nonetheless, these drinks contain plenty of sugar which produces acids that can erode your tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and cavities. Fruit juices, while containing many vitamins, are also loaded with citric acid and sugars which are especially damaging to tooth enamel. It is also a good idea to be careful when drinking these beverages with ice. Ice cubes can lead to cracks or chips in teeth, particularly if you chew on them.
2. Ice Cream and Popsicles. Ice cream, popsicles, and other sweet summer treats are also heavy in sugar and should be avoided or consumed in moderation to maintain healthy teeth. Similarly, popsicles and other hard treats can be hard to chew and can lead to chips in teeth.
3. Iced Coffee. Coffee contains tannins which are filled with healthy antioxidants but can also stain teeth. Regular coffee consumption can lead to discoloration and yellowing. In addition, many fun summer iced coffee drinks are high in sugar and can further lead to tooth decay.
4. Barbecue Sauce. Backyard barbecuing is a staple of many people’s summers, but it may be a good idea to go easy on the sauce. Barbecue sauce has also been known to stain teeth. While barbecuing it can also be smart to choose seedless hamburger or hot dog buns to avoid the seeds getting stuck in teeth.
5. Corn on the Cob. Corn on the cob is a fun barbecue staple, but it can pose several threats to healthy teeth. Eating it off the cob can lead to dislodged fillings or chips in teeth. In addition, the kernels can get stuck in between your teeth, allowing bacteria to form in the gaps.
What to Eat Instead
While many summer favorites have the potential to damage your teeth, there are plenty of delicious foods that are good for your dental health. Whether it’s eating fruits and vegetables, which will also help you stay hydrated, or swapping out ice cream for some delicious low-sugar frozen yogurt, you don’t need to feel deprived when you reach for a tasty summer treat.
In addition, it is a good idea to be extra thorough with your regular at-home dental routine during the summer months. Daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular professional cleanings, will help mitigate the effects of whatever summer foods you do eat and help set you on the path towards maintaining healthy teeth.
At Temple Family Dentistry, we can help you maintain great dental health—in the summer or any season of the year. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to find out more.