Waving down the ice cream truck and sitting on a step eating an ice cream sandwich or celebrating summer with a backyard barbeque are among many of our fondest summer memories, but as we’ve gotten older we may have become less carefree as we enjoy these treats and more concerned about what’s good or bad for our teeth. Let’s discuss the best and worst summer foods for your teeth so that you can continue to create fond memories while being mindful of your dental health in the process.

Foods that Can Cause Cavities

Sweet treats tend to be among the worst summer foods for your teeth because of how sugar can impact your teeth. When sugar reacts with the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth it produces an acid that can erode the enamel of your teeth. Common culprits include ice cream, popsicles, sweetened fruit salads, sweet barbecue sauces and sodas.

It may also surprise you that foods heavy on carbohydrates can be another source of cavity-causing sugars and also top the list of worst summer foods for your teeth. Foods like potato chips, corn on the cob and sticky buns can get stuck in between your teeth where acid-producing bacteria is against your teeth and gums for prolonged periods of time.

Foods that Can Stain Your Teeth

It’s also important to be careful of foods that may stain your teeth, especially if you’ve undergone any whitening treatments to brighten your smile. You wouldn’t want to undo all that hard work it took to brighten your smile! Foods and drinks like dark blackberries, barbecue sauces, artificially-colored sports drinks, iced tea or coffee are all favorite summer treats you should enjoy in moderation.

Delicious Alternatives

Fresh summer foods that are in season like veggie platters, fruit salads without added sugar or sweetened whipped cream are a great choice. Apples, pears, celery, carrots and strawberries actually help to clean your teeth, almost like nature’s toothbrushes. Dairy products like cheeses and unsweetened yogurts are also wonderful choices thanks to their high calcium and low sugar content. Choosing seedless fruits and melons as well as seedless buns for hamburgers and hot dogs can help to prevent seeds from getting caught between teeth and causing discomfort and irritation with your gums or holding bacteria in difficult to reach places.

Adding fresh fruit and veggies like cucumbers to water can also be a healthy and delicious alternative to drinks with high amounts of sugar or ingredients that may darken and stain teeth.

You don’t have to sacrifice the health of your teeth and gums to create fun and fond summer memories. In fact, it can be fun to get creative and try new things. There are many healthy and delicious alternatives that may become your new summer favorites and actually benefit the health of your teeth in the process!

Call our Mesa Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.