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Soak In the Sun, Not Smile-Damaging Snacks

added on: July 30, 2014 | By: Dr. Bilal Saib

damaging snacks during summerSummer is a time for soaking up the rays and getting a healthy dose of vitamin D (don’t forget the sunscreen!). But while you’re relaxing poolside in the summer sun, be careful of some heat-busting snacks that can cause smile-damaging results. At my dental office in Chapel Hill, we’re all about enjoying your time in the sun, but we want to make sure that you’re aware of some dangerous summer snacks and suggest some healthier alternatives.

As we’ve talked about in previous blogs, foods that are sticky or chewy are never a good choice for your teeth. Some more commonly eaten sticky foods are dried fruit or fruit snacks. These chewy snacks are not only high in sugar, their sticky nature also causes the sugar to linger around in the mouth longer, potentially causing some unwanted tooth damage. Sticky foods in general are also guilty of damaging tooth restorations or fillings. When you can, it’s best to stay away.

Another common summer treat that your Chapel Hill dentist suggests avoiding, or at least enjoying in moderation, is barbeque. Barbecue sauces often contain a lot of sugar, vinegar, and sometimes even dye. The dye that’s typically used in barbeque sauce can contribute to staining or discoloration of your smile, and while we already know that sugar is bad for your smile, acids, like vinegar, are also dangerous for your grin.

Citrus fruits including oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are also highly acidic and can lead to damage of the enamel and can promote tooth decay. Since these fruits are high in vitamin C and so thirst quenching, we don’t expect you to avoid them. Just remember that after you enjoy some orange slices, you should rinse your mouth with water to neutralize the acid.

When it comes to quenching your thirst, always choose water over any sugary beverage like soda, sweet tea, or sports drinks. Since people are often more active in the summer, they’re more likely to turn to a sports drink like Gatorade. If you need an extra boost of electrolytes, drink these types of beverages sparingly and avoid swishing them around in your mouth.

So what snacks are all right to eat? Veggies like celery or carrots are excellent foods for your body and your smile;, try some proteins like nuts and turkey; and don’t forget to swing by the dairy aisle to pick up some calcium rich cheese or yogurt that are not only good for your bones, they’re also good for your teeth.

This summer, while you’re enjoying the sun, make sure you’re also enjoying some smile-friendly foods. Next time you’re shopping for food, all of us at my Chapel Hill dental office urge you to make sure to add some smile-friendly items to your list. They’ll not only be delicious to eat, they’ll also keep your mouth healthy all summer (and year) long.

Serving patients in Chapel Hill, Durham and Pittsboro.

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