Sweets For Long Lasting Teeth

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Whether your kids are busier than ever or are “bored”around the house, smart snacking choices can be difficult to come by. I highly recommend taking advantage of the delicious seasonal fruits of summer for healthy snacking. Berries, cantaloupe, mango, Valencia oranges, peaches, watermelon, guava, passionfruit, avocado are all in peak season in July and August. Rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, oranges and berries help your body maintain strong blood vessels (and gums). Avocados contain healthy fats that keep you full for longer and also provide an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins.

Citrus fruits are acidic, but don’t avoid their health benefits for concern over enamel erosion! After eating any snack it’s important to drink water to help neutralize the acidic environment that develops when you eat. It’s acid that erodes enamel, either uniformly or in focused areas, depending on your cleaning habits, tooth anatomy, and the length of exposure. Fortunately for your oral health, nutritious snacks like fresh veggies with hummus, fruit, nuts, and cheese allow your mouth to return quickly to a balanced pH.

I recommend staying away from the chewy “fruit flavored” candies; they have no nutritional value and their sticky sugar is a recipe for cavities. (How many times have you had to pull a Swedish Fish or Starburst out of your teeth with your finger?) Not surprisingly, the same goes for caramel candy bars. The most tooth-friendly treat to splurge on may be ice cream. That’s some good news! Ice cream does have a lot of saturated fat, but it also has calcium and it’s quickly rinsed away by your saliva and/or drinking water. That means that the sugars aren’t lingering on your teeth, so bacteria will have less to eat also!

You may want to make eating fruits and veggies even easier for your kids by cutting them up ahead of time and placing them in the front of the refrigerator. For the healthiest summer possible I hope you keep these things in mind when you stock the refrigerator and pantry. I also hope you have fun and enjoy your precious time with family this summer!

-Dr. Mike

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