A great way to replenish your energy after an activity-filled summer day is by snacking on some of your favorite bites and beverages. Sounds pretty sweet! But could your favorite summer treats be causing you tooth decay and gum disease?
You may think your smile is protected because your oral hygiene routine is in check. You might be saying to yourself, “Shouldn’t brushing twice a day, flossing, and tongue scraping do the trick?”
Although these are all essential habits to maintain dental health, what you eat also plays a major role in achieving a vibrant healthy smile. Your teeth require good nutrition to combat diseases and function properly.
Your McAllen and La Feria family dentists at WhiteWing Dental want to share with you a few tips and ideas for summertime snacks that can help you maintain proper oral health and hygiene.
The Nutrients You Need
Enamel is our strongest line of defense when it comes to our teeth. This hard protective tissue allows us to complete the daily functions of chewing and breaking down our foods.
Enamel is composed of various minerals with the two most significant ones being calcium and phosphorus. Calcium can be found in dairy products such as milk (low-fat), yogurt, cheese and also seafood. Plant-based eaters can incorporate calcium into their diets with foods like green veggies and soy-based products.
Phosphorus is available in foods such as fish, nuts and seeds, broths, chicken, and quinoa, which can all provide your daily servings. These two nutrients can help restore any enamel that has eroded over time and promote protection.
Don’t Forget Your Vitamins
Vitamins C and D are also very important to dental health. Vitamin C promotes gum health through blood vessels and reducing inflammation of the gums. Vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium.
Sources of Vitamin C include strawberries, oranges, kale and broccoli. Foods that provide vitamin D include fatty fish, some dairy products, orange juice, cheese, and egg yolks.
Antioxidants to Put Some Hurt on Bacteria
Bacteria can seriously ruin the party! In addition to inflammation, these microscopic organisms cause bad breath and infection, which is no fun at all.
Antioxidants hold the power to repair damaged cells and combat pesky bacteria that have made a home in your mouth. Antioxidants can be found in beans, nuts, berries, and even a nibble of dark chocolate.
Stay Refreshed With H2O
Staying hydrated is not only essential to the overall function of your body it also allows your mouth to maintain a healthy production of saliva necessary to minimize bacteria growth. Without saliva, our mouths would not be able to control the spread of bacteria that can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and bad breath.
Chewing crunchy foods full of water, such as vegetables and fruits, will hydrate you and help the mouth produce saliva. More saliva means a cleaner mouth!
Summer Snacks for Healthy Mouths
So what are your options for satisfying summer snacks that provide the essential elements for enamel strength, saliva production, and reduce disease-causing bacterias?
They will keep you energized, hydrated, and provide you with essential vitamins and nutrients to keep your teeth strong and luminous. Snack on these instead of hard candy and chips:
Crunchy vegetables naturally clean food particles and plaque off your teeth, and the high water content will keep you hydrated, leaving you with fresh breath. Slice up these veggies and enjoy them with some dip:
- Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, broccoli)
- Sweet Potatoes
Savory Cheese & Yogurt
These foods are packed with probiotics and calcium. Remember calcium is an essential nutrient for enamel strength. A bite of cheese lowers acidic levels in the mouth, making it hard for plaque to stand a chance!
Nuts and Seeds
Say bye-bye to tooth decay! The phosphorus and calcium abundant in nuts like almonds and cashews, and even pumpkin seeds, help to replenish tooth enamel. Help your teeth stay strong by crunching on a delectable trail mix!
Our McAllen and La Feria family dentists at Whitewing Dental want you to enjoy your summer and snack on while keeping your teeth cavity free and as gleaming as can be! Swap the acidic and sugary snacks for ones that will give you the energy to seize the day.