An Independent Smile – 8 Tooth-Friendly Foods for Summer


Everyone’s excited about summer celebrations. And, to be fair, there’s a lot of reason to anticipate them. Between the parties and outdoor cookouts (even with social distancing), there’s a ton of things to look forward to. The last thing that people think about during summertime activities is if a particular food negatively affects their teeth. If you’ve ever asked a dentist in Florida about what happens after these summer celebrations, you’ll know how few patients take the threat to their teeth seriously.

Your teeth are a responsibility that you have, even during the summer. The first step to ensuring that you have a good set of chompers to keep enjoying your barbecues is by eating right. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) mentions that 92% of adults in the age category of 20 to 64 demonstrate cavities. Despite these alarming numbers, people still insist on eating foods that are bad for their teeth. In this article, we’re going to outline a few tooth-friendly foods for those who want to be mindful of their dental needs at their barbecues.

1. Water

There’s a reason water makes the top of the list. While technically not a food, water is among the most beneficial liquids you can consume. Not only does it stop you from getting dehydrated, but it also has quite an impact on your teeth. The University of Illinois College of Dentistry mentions that fluoride in drinking water strengthens tooth enamel and helps to prevent cavities. Water might seem like a bland drink to most, but the oral health benefits it offers are unquestionable.

Not only does water add fluoride to teeth, but it also serves to rinse particles of food off your tooth enamel. As we’ve discussed before, these particles of food can entice bacteria to start digesting them. The bacteria produce acid which eats away at your tooth enamel and eventually results in a cavity. Water can help prevent cavity formation by keeping those teeth clear of debris.

2. Onions

The groans and complaints about how onions damage your breath are hard to ignore. However, raw onions (or even lightly barbecued ones) carry with them valuable properties. Onions are a strange addition to many foods since the vegetable isn’t particularly notable for its nutritional value. Frontiers in Microbiology states that onions can inhibit the formation of certain bacterial colonies. As we mentioned above, bacterial colonies are responsible for cavities. Onions might be an excellent way to deal with them before they start making holes in your teeth.

3. Cheese

The benefits of cheese for teeth are far-reaching. The calcium that cheese contains is useful for strengthening teeth. Additionally, cheese can help to balance the pH values within your mouth. Cheese contains a protein called casein. When you chow down on some cheese, the casein coats the teeth, forming a protective barrier to acid that might otherwise weaken your dental enamel. Finally, cheese encourages saliva production. Saliva helps to wash away debris that might otherwise become stuck to your teeth and eventually cause a cavity.

4. Apples

Apples can be a double-edged sword. Overeating apples can introduce sugar into your mouth in a big way. We already know that sugar is terrible for your teeth because it encourages bacteria to produce acids that destroy enamel. However, apples, when eaten in moderation, can be beneficial. Ask any dentist in Florida, and they’ll advise you that apples can benefit your teeth. A paper published in PLoS One mentioned that while apples don’t remove plaque from teeth (as some claim it does), it can be comparable to brushing your teeth. When you’re at a barbecue, you don’t want to excuse yourself to brush your teeth every few minutes. An apple might be just the replacement you need.

5. Beans

There’s no barbecue anywhere in the USA that won’t have its share of beans. It doesn’t matter if they’re butter-fried or stewed up – they are an essential part of healthy teeth. Beans are a source of lean protein, but also provide a great way to clean your teeth. When you chew on seeds, your mouth starts producing massive amounts of saliva that can help to keep your oral cavity clear of debris. Additionally, chewing up beans can aid in clearing away those leftover food particles as well. It’s a little bit like passing your teeth through a car-wash. Don’t underestimate how vital beans are to a healthy smile this Independence Day.

6. Barbecue Meats (Easy on the Sauce)

If you’re going to a barbecue and aren’t having the meat (if you’re not vegan), it seems like a waste. Professional dentists in Florida will tell you that eating meat by itself isn’t going to damage your teeth. It’s the marinades and sauces that will cause your teeth to start falling apart. Marinades and rubs usually contain many spices, but they also have a fair amount of sugar and acidic compounds mixed in. Adding them is necessary to get that rich, smoky flavor you expect from barbecued meat. When it comes to adding those sauces to your plate, you should be a little more cautious. Try not to drown the meat in sauces, and your teeth will thank you.

7. Yogurt

It seems like another fixture in backyard barbecues is ice cream, but we’re not a massive fan of those cold, sugary treats. Yogurt, on the other hand, holds a special place in our hearts. Yogurt has traditionally been rich in calcium, which we know helps to keep your teeth healthy. What you might not know is that the bacteria that come with yogurt can directly improve your oral health by keeping your teeth and gums strong. What’s more, it can even help manage the levels of hydrogen sulfide in your mouth, ensuring you don’t have to worry about bad breath. The Journal of Periodontology found that regular consumption of dairy products like yogurt can have a positive effect in controlling periodontal disease. That’s a pretty good reason for choosing it over ice cream at your barbecue.

8. Sugarless Gum

The only thing as All-American as fun in the summer sun is chewing gum. The big problem with chewing gum is that it comes with a ton of added sugar. Sugar in gum is an invitation to have cavities, but the chewing of the gum itself might have positive impacts. Luckily, sugarless gum exists so that you don’t have to give up chewing gum at the barbecue. Just make sure you’re using the gum that won’t make your teeth start growing holes because of the wrong kind of bacteria.

Celebrating Summertime with Teeth-Friendly Foods

Being healthy doesn’t mean giving up the best things in life. A summer barbecue should be just as enjoyable while eating healthy and taking care of your teeth. At Anderson Dental, we believe that your oral health shouldn’t get in the way of your enjoyment of the season, and that’s why we came up with this handy list. If you want a dentist in Florida that understands the balance between healthy and fun, contact us today! We’d be glad to schedule you for an appointment as soon as possible. Until then, have an excellent summer.