Summer is a wondrous time for countless Americans. School’s out, vacations are planned, and friends and family meet and greet with renewed vigor. The season’s bounty is reflected in diets across the nation, many of which are better during the warm months than at any other time of the year. And yet, those choices based on available delicacies can do a number on your teeth. Cosmetic dentistry can play an important part in getting you smile ready after this delicious season. But you may be surprised by some of the common summertime snacks that can stain your teeth.
Lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit are loaded with Vitamin C. And they’re bursting with color and flavor during the warm season. However, citrus is incredibly acidic. While it’s actually alkaline inside the body, citrus fruits can actually eat away at healthy enamel. Once the enamel is damaged, decay isn’t far behind. Enjoy the citrus spoils of the summer in moderation, but make sure you rinse the acid away with plenty of clean water.
Berries are treats that are especially popular in the summer. In fact, it’s hard to pass a bush, vine, or field of plump, ripe berries and not turn into a glutton. The human body needs the antioxidants and immunity-fighting abilities that fresh berries provide. But the natural pigment does a wonder on your teeth. Drinking plenty of water is essential when consuming these seasonal delights, but your smile may need a late season boost that only cosmetic dentistry can provide.
Cookouts are an American pastime with 75-87% of Americans participating in some type of grilling experience during the summer holidays. Whether you prefer it on chicken, ribs, or tofu, the sweet, sticky, and tangy sauces are often the best part of the feast. Of course, it’s often the worst part for your teeth. Barbecue sauce not only has dyes that can stain your teeth, but it also contains vinegar, tomatoes, and sugar that can break down the enamel. Always rinse your mouth right after eating such foods, but wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth to avoid spreading the acid throughout the mouth.
Popsicles are a staple of most summer excursions. Comparing tongues and flavors can keep kids busy for hours. But sorry parents, those sweet, sticky ice lollies are less harmless than you think. Most popsicles are made with concentrated food dyes that seriously stain teeth, and they’re loaded with sugar that leads to decay. Add in the fact that they’re in the mouth for an extended period of time and becoming hooked on popsicles can be a recipe for disaster. Opt instead for sugar-free or natural frozen treats that are far less harmful to your oral health.
Who doesn’t love an ice-cold drink on a hot day? But certain beverages should be banned from your seasonal fun. Concentrated fruit juices, lemonade, energy drinks, sodas, ice coffee, and ice tea contain enough sugar to erode the enamel and cause decay on their own. Sipping through a straw can help, but the acid still sticks around in the mouth. Dyes also permeate the enamel causing permanent stains that require professional teeth whitening. Fortunately, that’s an easy and affordable solution to getting your smile picture ready again; at least easier than removing all of your favorite goodies from your summer outings.