Concession stands at baseball games, theme park food stands, and road trip snack stops are temptations that are hard to avoid. These summertime staples are a haven of cold beverages and sugary snacks. What would summer be without slushies, ice cream, popsicles, and soda? Not shocking to anyone, though, these summertime snacks are not the best for your teeth.
Sugary Summer Drinks
While a cold, sugary drink will instantly satisfy thirst, the sugar will stick around and attack your enamel for the rest of the day. Because it is hot outside, you are more likely to sip on sugary drinks for hours on end. This habit is instinctual; we want to cool down while at the park or at a sporting event. The idea behind this wouldn’t be so bad if we were sipping on water or sugar-free teas, etc., but sticky drinks introduce enamel-eroding sugars into our mouths with every sip. For this reason, you should sip sugary slushies and sodas through a straw, and enjoy them entirely in one sitting. Also, after a non-water beverage, it is good practice to follow up with some H20 to rinse out the sugar.
Dippin Dots at Schlitterbahn or Ice Cream at an Astros game offers a cool escape from the sun’s rays. These refreshing treats can be a good source of calcium, but they are also loaded with sugar. No one wants to believe that licking an ice cream cone will lead to tooth decay, but we have to face the facts. Similarly to sugary drinks, when you let sugar make a home in your mouth, you are opening the door to tooth decay. When possible, you should choose sugar-free or low-sugar ice creams. It may be impossible to trick kids into sugar-free, so if you have to eat regular ice cream, follow up by rinsing your mouth. This way you are washing away the sticky sugars that instigate tooth decay.
Alternative summertime snacks
If you find yourself standing at the concession stand and don’t know what to do, opt for a large bottle of water and a treat that will be eaten in one sitting. Choose a single candy bar or hot dog rather than small candies that you will munch on for hours. Popcorn and pretzels are both good choices because they are not sticky and are low in sugar.
While at home, choose summertime snacks that your teeth will appreciate. Rather than a sticky, store-bought popsicle, make some fresh fruit frozen popsicles with watermelon puree and fruit slices. These chilly treats won’t leave your teeth coated in sugar, but will cool you down on a sunny afternoon. You could also eat frozen yogurt tubes instead of ice cream. Yogurt is full of calcium, making it great for your tooth and bone health. If you buy a box of yogurt tubes and store them in the freezer, you will always have a ready-to-go, no mess, snack.
As you avoid sticky, sugary summertime snacks, you will discover many tasty alternatives. We would love to hear about what you snack on when you are trying to beat the heat! Schedule an appointment at A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe for a cleaning, and finish off the summer by choosing tooth-friendly snacks!