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Dental Health: Summer Foods to Watch Out For


corn on the cobSummertime means that the kids aren’t in school, and they’re probably indulging in some sweet treats to help stay cool. Many summer treats, however, are particularly harsh on teeth and can lead to tooth decay. Here are the top foods to watch out for this summer when it comes to your children’s dental health.

Popsicles

Popsicles are a frequent summer indulgence for staying cool—especially for kids—but they are just about one of the worst foods for teeth. Popsicles are full of sugars that, when they come in contact with the naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth, turn into an acid that works to break down tooth enamel. Moreover, the nature of popsicles and how they are eaten over an extended period of time means longer exposure to harmful sugars for your kids. Even 100% fruit juice varieties of popsicles aren’t free of the harmful effects of sugar.

Sugary drinks

This includes soda, fruit juice and lemonade, all of which are high-sugar-content drinks that mean bad news for your teeth during the summer. Fruit juice in particular is a drink that poses as a healthy alternative to soda, but even 100% fruit juices are high in tooth decay-causing sugar. These drinks are also often high in acidic content, which also makes for increased tooth decay. Instead of giving your kids soda, juice, or lemonade to sip on under the summer heat, opt for water infused with fresh fruit.

Grilled meats

Grilled steaks and porkchops might not be as high in sugar, but these foods have a tendency to leave food particles lodged between the teeth. When these food particles are not promptly removed with floss, they can cause gum irritation or tooth decay.

Condiments

Similarly, sweet condiments like barbecue sauce, ketchup, honey, and molasses are still high in sugar, so you need to be wary of them when adding them to meat for you and your kids. Acidic condiments like vinegar are a dental hazard as well, as the acidic content works right away on your teeth to break down tooth enamel. Also keep in mind that many condiments contain tooth staining ingredients like tomatoes and food dyes.

Corn on the cob

Corn on the cob is another summer staple that has a tendency to get lodged between the teeth. This food is okay to enjoy for the health benefits it offers, but be sure that you and your kids thoroughly floss your teeth after.

Pickles

Those tooth decay causing acids and sugars? Pickles have both, plus possibly even dyes that could contribute to tooth decay.


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