The Best and Worst Summer Foods for Your Oral Health

By

Sixth Street Dental

|

June 18, 2020

Summer is finally here! For many people, it is time to break out the grills and load up on some fruity popsicle sticks. But just like any other food, your favorite summer meals will vary in their impact on your oral health. Some foods can help fight off plaque build-up. Others can cause your mouth to develop gum disease and dental problems. In our latest article, Pittsburgh dentists Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics separates the healthy summer snacks from the bad ones. 

Popsicle Sticks and Ice Cream Cones

According to Leading Pittsburgh Dentists, Sugary Treats That Should Be Enjoyed in Moderation

colorful ice cream cones

Sugary treats such as popsicle sticks and ice cream cones can lead to tooth decay. Tooth decay often occurs when the sugar from these treats is feasted on by harmful bacteria. This bacteria produces an acid that removes important minerals from your tooth enamel. Popsicles and ice cream can also cause tooth sensitivity as a result of their cold temperatures. Any melted juice from a popsicle stick that remains stuck on your teeth can also increase your risk of tooth decay.

For a healthy and tasty alternative, consider purchasing a cup of regular or sugar-free yogurt. Frozen yogurt tends to be lower in both sugar and calories than regular ice cream. 

Watermelon and Cantaloupe

Sweet, Healthy Fruits That Can Scrub Your Teeth Clean

young girl eating a piece of watermelon

Not only are these popular summer fruits delicious, but they are also great for your dental health! Watermelon and cantaloupe are rich in fiber, which acts as a natural toothbrush for your mouth as you chew on these refreshing fruits. The thorough scrubbing that your teeth undergo when you munch on a piece of watermelon can help prevent plaque from building up and also lower your risk of developing tooth decay. The rich fibers in watermelon and cantaloupes can also clear away leftover food debris and particles found in your teeth.  

Barbecue Ribs

Delicious Summer Entree That Requires You to Go Easy on the Sauce

plate of barbecue ribs

Due to the caramelized sugars found in your favorite BBQ sauce, those savory ribs cooking on the grill can be extremely detrimental to your dental health. As you chew on this popular summer meal, you also run the risk of cracking your teeth on over-caramelized parts of meat. Plus, the extra sugar is never beneficial to the health of your teeth. 

Of course, you don’t have to ban this delicious food from your life forever. Moderation is key. Enjoying a plate of ribs at your neighborhood’s annual summer BBQ will not offset all of the dental progress you made before that moment. When you do enjoy your plate of ribs, remember to keep it easy on the BBQ sauce for the take of your dental health. 

Homemade Trail Mix

Pittsburgh Dentists Warn That This Quick Snack Can Harm Your Teeth if You Aren’t Careful

bowl of trail mix

Image courtesy of Virginia Carolinas Peanuts

Many people make the mistake of believing that trail mix is always the healthiest snack option for them. While some trail mixes do offer a healthy variety of ingredients containing plenty of protein and minerals, others contain foods that are harmful to your teeth. 

The dried food often added to these mixtures can also stick to your teeth for prolonged periods of time. These sugary ingredients can increase your risk of developing tooth decay. Whole, shelled nuts can also cause damage to your teeth if you find yourself struggling to open them. When making your trail mix bags, try to add only pre-shelled nut and seed mixes. For some extra flavor, you can add a few pieces of dark chocolate. This popular candy contains polyphenols that can fight off harmful bacteria. 

Popcorn

Popular Movie Snack That You Will Want to Avoid as Much as Possible

bowl of popcorn

If you wear dental implants or braces, you will need to avoid popcorn to prevent damage to your oral devices. Popcorn is probably one of the worst foods for your teeth. 

For one thing, popcorn kernels can damage your teeth if you accidentally crunch down too hard on one. The thin shell that covers a popcorn kernel can also get wedged between your teeth or between your teeth and gums. These kernels are the perfect sites for bacteria to feed on. 

Should a piece of popcorn or a kernel become trapped under your gums, the surrounding tissue can become inflamed. This inflammation can then cause an abscess in the damaged area. 


Is your yearly dental check-up coming up? Are you in need of a new dentist in Pittsburgh? Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics is one of the leading Pittsburgh dentists in the city. With services including Invisalign treatment, smile makeovers, and Botox, you can rest assured that you can achieve the smile of your dreams with Sixth Street. Contact the team at Sixth Street Dental Aesthetics today to get started.

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125 Sixth Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
400 Baldwin Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15205

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