The summer brings warm weather and blue skies, but it also brings the temptation for foods that are bad for dental health. Many people spend time at cottages, carnivals, and backyard barbecues during the summer months. The temptation to eat cotton candy, popcorn, and sugary drinks is strong. Unfortunately, these foods can negatively affect your dental health. You can make sure your teeth, and your family’s, stay healthy this summer by choosing the right foods. For your next potluck or backyard bash, consider serving dishes with the following teeth-healthy ingredients. And, of course, don’t skip your dental hygiene appointment at Lambton Family Dental just because school’s out!
Melted, diced, fried, or baked; no matter how you serve it, cheese is amazing for your dental health. It’s also downright delicious. To start, cheese contains high amounts of calcium. Our jawbones and teeth depend on calcium to stay healthy and durable. Calcium keeps the enamel (the outer layer of your teeth) hard and strong.
Besides calcium, cheese also contains a protein called casein. When consumed with calcium, it creates a protective layer on the teeth which defends them against decay. The bacteria in our mouth that can cause tooth decay isn’t able to attach itself to the teeth when casein is present. Not only is cheese good for the structure of your mouth and teeth, but it’s crucial for keeping your teeth clean!
For an upcoming picnic or night in, prepare a cheese board. Include a variety of cheeses with crackers to pair them with. Grapes, almonds, and red pepper jelly also make excellent additions to any cheese board.
Did you know that some people insist on eating the peel of the banana? This layer of the fruit has ample potassium and calcium. Even if you don’t eat the peel, bananas have tons of dental health benefits. For one, they have a low pH level. It’s vital to be aware of the acidity levels of the food we eat. When too much acid is present in the mouth, it can erode the enamel.
Bananas also have high levels of potassium. Potassium is crucial for maintaining jaw density and tooth strength. When the teeth are reinforced with the necessary minerals, like potassium, they’re less likely to succumb to decay. Although bananas do contain sugar, they don’t tend to stick to your teeth like candy and other sugar-filled foods. After eating foods containing sugar, always rinse your mouth with water.
When planning breakfasts at the cottage this summer, consider making bananas the main ingredient. You could mash two or three ripe bananas and add them to your pancake batter. Alternatively, slice them up and use them as an oatmeal topping.
The soft tissues in your mouth are vulnerable to infection, irritation, and gingivitis. It’s crucial that maintaining these tissues with flossing and massaging become part of your dental routine. Another way to keep them healthy is by eating oranges. Oranges and other citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant helps your gums fend off gingivitis and other oral infections. When the gums are strong and healthy, your teeth are less likely to become loose. One study even proved that periodontitis, or gum disease, is associated with low levels of vitamin C.
You can keep your gums and soft tissues healthy by eating oranges and other citrus fruits. If you prefer to drink orange juice overeating them, make it yourself. Store-bought orange juices often contain extra sugar that isn’t good for your teeth. Juice your own oranges and add them to smoothies.
Above we discussed the importance of calcium in promoting oral health. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how much cheese you eat if your body doesn’t have enough vitamin D to process it. Vitamin D is responsible for enabling the body to absorb and make use of calcium. Salmon is one of the best foods for getting your vitamin D intake.
Besides vitamin D, salmon also has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are crucial for overall health and preventing oral disease. In one study, omega-3s were proven to be associated with lower incidences of periodontal disease. The study suggested that Canadians get at least two servings of long chain omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon) per week.
Instead of throwing beef burgers on the BBQ tonight, why not try salmon burgers? You can cook them on the BBQ; place the fillets in aluminum foil with your marinade of choice. Once they’re cooked, throw them on toasted buns with coleslaw and dill pickle slices!
Eating kale won’t just benefit your dental health; it’ll make you healthier overall. This superfood is bursting with nutrients. For one, it contains high levels of vitamin K. Vitamin K is crucial for protecting your bones and supporting healing. It protects the teeth from substances that attack the enamel and helps the body absorb osteocalcin. This is another nutrient the body requires to maintain healthy bones and teeth.
When you’re deficient in vitamin K, your immune system can suffer. It might take longer to heal wounds and fight infection. In terms of dental health, you’re more likely to experience bleeding gums. One form of vitamin K, K2, prevents tooth decay and facilitates remineralization.
Salads are an everyday staple for summer potlucks. While you could swap out the romaine for kale in your Caesar salad, kale also makes great potato chips substitutes. Bake the kale leaves in the oven with oil until they’re crispy. Let them cool and then enjoy.
There are so many benefits to eating carrots. First, they contain a carotenoid called beta carotene. This nutrient transforms into vitamin A in the body. We need vitamin A to maintain the health of our mucous membranes. Without it, you can develop dry mouth syndrome and delay the body’s ability to heal oral wounds. It keeps the saliva flowing which naturally flushes out the bacteria in the mouth.
Carrots are delicious, edible toothbrushes. As you chew on this crunchy vegetable, they massage your gums. The high levels of keratin in carrots help fight plaque and tartar, strengthening tooth enamel and preventing bad breath.
There’s nothing like homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It makes the perfect dessert for summer parties and functions. As an appetizer, merely plating carrot sticks and hummus is a healthy and delicious option.
This last summer food for dental health should come as no surprise. An apple a day keeps the dentist away, right?
Apples are sometimes called “nature’s toothbrush.” They massage the gums, remove plaque, and increase saliva. Apples contain many of the nutrients mentioned above, like vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. They keep your mouth clean, breath fresh, gums healthy, and teeth strong. They’re a dental health superhero!
This summer, find a recipe for homemade apple pie. Alternatively, add some sweetness to your burgers by topping them with grilled apple slices. When you need a snack on the way to the trailer, crunch on an apple instead of potato chips.
To keep your teeth in great shape all summer, book an appointment at Lambton Family Dental. Our skilled dental hygiene team cares about keeping your family’s smiles bright. We offer dental services from cleanings to emergency care. Call our office today: (519) 344-5747.