“So what foods are good for my teeth?” We get asked this all the time, usually right when we’re about to bite into a deep-fried fudge cronut at the Ex. Luckily, there are a ton of great answers. Even luckier is that so many of them are the perfect summer foods. What most of these tooth-healthy foods share is an abundance of vitamins and minerals along with a relatively small amount of sugars. Some also offer useful bonuses like fibre and protein.
Here in Ontario, we’re lucky that summertime brings such an abundance of fresh, local and mouth-friendly foods. Our choices can be picked up at your nearest grocery store or farmers market to be enjoyed on a hot day, and should fit just about any budget.
Go Green With Summer Foods
Leafy greens are at their best in the summertime, and few things cap off a warm afternoon quite like a refreshing summer salad. Your teeth agree. Greens tend to be great sources of calcium, which does wonders for your bones, as well as folic acid, which contributes to healthy gums. They’re also very low in sugar, so are always a good choice to pair with something that may have more without overdoing it. Spinach, arugula and kale are all delicious superfoods that can provide the base for a tooth-friendly meal.
Go Nuts With Summer Foods
Specifically, go almonds. Calcium? Check. Protein? Check. Low sugar? Check. A great source of fibre? Check. Nature’s very own toothbrush? You better believe that’s a check. Almonds are a fantastic option for a quick bite on the beach or trailside snack. The rough fibre helps clear away plaque, while the calcium and protein go to work strengthening your smile. What’s not to love? Throw them on a salad or over roasted veggies and fish.
Go Cheesy With Summer Foods
As if we needed another reason to eat cheese. But while you’re happily chowing down on some top-shelf brie as you stare out across the lake, you may as well have the added satisfaction knowing that it’s great for your teeth. A recent study indicated that eating cheese can raise the pH levels of your mouth, fighting bacteria and reducing your risk of tooth decay and cavities. That wonderful fromage also happens to be rich in you guessed it calcium and protein. Although maybe you shouldn’t eat the whole wheel right before your day-long canoe trip.
Go Fruity With Summer Foods
Pears and apples stimulate your saliva glands, which helps neutralize acids and encourages a healthy mouth. That’s right, the more saliva the better, because it’s your body’s natural way of fighting bacteria. Just try not to drool. Apples and pears are also rich in fibre, which can help scrape away plaque before it turns into tartar.
Well, the list could go on and on: carrots and celery, for instance, are great choices all year-round because they stimulate saliva and are chock full of fibre and vitamins. Plus, many low-sugar yogurts can work the same wonders as cheese. Just talk to your dentist during your next appointment for more ideas.
BBQs, of course, are an undeniable part of summer for us omnivores out there. If you can, choose lean meats, which are packed with the protein that helps your teeth stay strong.
But what to wash it all down with? On a steaming hot summer day, there’s nothing your mouth wants more than a tall, cool glass of water. Try to pick good old H20 whenever you can, and your teeth will thank you for it.