Summer Snacking and Your Teeth

by Dr. Yasaman Garakani on July 14, 2016

Summer is here! Along with the sunshine and the glee of tossing the snow shovel into the shed for a few months comes endless invitations to sip cocktails on the patio and indulge in sweet desserts at barbeques. Your kids are free to have play dates at friend’s houses and attend day camp, and you know those always come with sticky treats like caramel apples, sugary candy and hot tubs of buttered popcorn.

There’s no doubt about it, summer and treats go hand in hand, but summer is no time to let those treats erode your teeth. Here’s how to protect your enamel when the sweet treats of summer come calling.

Limit your exposure: There is no reason to turn down invitations to drinks with friends or cancel play dates. Just make sure you – and your kids – have a cut off limit when it comes to sugar. A few pieces of candy, a couple sweet drinks or one piece of dessert are all you need to be satisfied and to cut down on how much sugar comes into contact with your teeth. If possible, excuse yourself to the washroom and rinse your mouth with water after you have had something with a lot of sugar or something sticky, like gummy bears.

Provide alternatives:  If you have the opportunity to pack a lunch for your kid’s day camp, or if you are asked to bring something to a picnic or barbeque, you can pack/bring fruit, cheese slices, or other healthy foods that are less damaging to teeth, but still fun and yummy.

Be prepared: Popcorn, small candy pieces and caramel can be annoying when they get stuck in and on your teeth. Not only is this bad for your mouth, if these pieces are not removed, they can get ground into your gums and cause bleeding. Sharp edges of potato or corn chips are bad for this, especially for children with gaps between growing teeth. Individual flossers and toothpicks are cheap and small enough to pop into a purse or lunch box. Always keep a few on hand so you can quickly dislodge popcorn kernels and other small debris that likes to hide between teeth.

water.pngHydrate with water: It’s common knowledge that soda and juice are one of the worst things we can consume when it comes to our teeth, and our health. While juice is arguably better than sugar (if it has no added sugar or ingredients that look like they came from outer space), pure and refreshing water is always your best bet. It won’t harm your teeth, it won’t give you a sugar rush and it won’t help speed up metabolic issues related to constantly raised level of insulin. If you’ve had a couple cocktails, switch to club soda with a lime wedge, and if you are sending your kids to a playdate with a lunchbox, add a water bottle.

Summer is great. Enjoy it! It’s a short time until the cold wind blows and school starts up again. Just remember to think of your teeth and to keep up with your dental appointments. Nothing goes better with that summer tan than a nice, bright smile.

The Smile Dental Centre offers a full range of dental services backed by outstanding patient care for children and adults. The Smile Dental Centre won the Consumer Choice Award four years in a row (2013 – 2016) for general and cosmetic dentistry in the London, ON region. Now that’s something to smile about!"

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