Cook out season is here again, and now more than ever, we’re ready to get out of the house and relax in the back yard with friends and family. Even though you’re just hanging out for the afternoon, there are easy choices you can make to benefit your oral health. This includes choices like healthy foods and simple tricks for after dinner. Here are our tips for cook outs and oral health this summer.
Potato chips are one of the most popular things to bring to a cook out, but this year we recommend passing on the chips for healthier alternatives. Chips are starchy and easily stick between your teeth. When you snack on chips throughout a cook out, the bacteria in your mouth can begin to form cavities. It can be hard to remove all these food particles without floss, and not too many of us carry floss to a cook out. Instead of choosing chips for your next event, let’s look at better choices for your BBQ.
So what should you choose for your cook out if you’re skipping the chips? If you’re grilling, fruits and vegetables can make a tasty and colorful menu option for your guests. Try grilling things like zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, onions and peppers. Fruits like apples, pears and pineapple also work great on the grill. If you do grill corn, we recommend cutting it off the cobb afterward to make it easier to eat. Compliment these grilled options with raw snacks like celery, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and more. Fibrous vegetables like this can actually help clean your teeth and remove those harmful particles that encourage tooth decay. There is one more important item you should consider if you’re breaking out the grill.
Before you fire up the grill this season, make sure you have some cheese ready for those burgers! Cheese is a great food for your teeth in several ways. First, it contains that all-important calcium that helps keep your teeth strong. It also contains another component, phosphorus, that is a key mineral for teeth and bones. It has even been suggested that cheese has a pH level that neutralizes acid and helps protect your teeth as you’re eating it. This is certainly a delicious way to keep your teeth strong and healthy!
Recently in our Hacks From Your Dentist article, we talked about a simple secret weapon you have to freshen up your breath and clean food particles off your teeth at the same time - sugar free gum. Once you’re finished eating and you’re ready to put your feet up and relax at the cook out, chew a stick of sugar free gum. Not only will you benefit from fresh breath, the act of chewing will help clean your teeth before you can get home and brush them properly. That’s right, the gum will stick to food particles and remove them before they can contribute to any cavities. Even just the simple act of chewing will release more saliva and help protect your teeth. Just make sure you only buy the 100% sugar-free variety of gum.
You can still have amazing cook outs this summer and make responsible choices for your oral health. Start by skipping the chips and opting for healthier fare like fruits and vegetables. If you’re firing up the grill, don’t forget the cheese on your burgers. And wherever your friends and family gather, don’t forget to put some sugar-free gum in your pocket to clean your teeth when you can’t brush. Keep your smile healthy by doing one more important thing this summer - scheduling your next checkup. Contact Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry to get your next appointment in the books today!