Warmer weather means summer treats like frosty ice cream and refreshing lemonade are available everywhere. Here’s how you can help keep your smile healthy during a season full of cool treats — some of which are full of cavity-causing sugar and/or acid.
You can avoid damage from sugary (snow cones, s’mores, pies) and acidic (citrus fruits, sour candies) foods and drinks. Consume them only in moderation and pair them with foods that are low in sugar and acid to reduce the damage they can cause.
Some beverages, such as fruit punch, lemonade and sweet tea, are doubly dangerous because they are high in both sugar and acid.
Add to a meal
When you do indulge, eat treats as part of a meal when your mouth is producing more saliva. This adds minerals back to your teeth to help reverse damage caused by sugar and acid.
Frequent snacking on sugary and acidic items increases the amount of time your teeth are exposed to their damaging effects.
Chew on these
Add raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables to your meal. Apples, pears, bell peppers, cucumbers and more work as natural toothbrushes by washing away leftover food from your teeth.
Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal increases saliva flow, which also helps wash away leftover bits of food that feed the bacteria in your mouth.
Make sure to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for at least two minutes each time, floss daily and see your dentist regularly.
Wait about 30 minutes after consuming acidic foods or beverages to brush, as acid can soften enamel that could be damaging by brushing. This also gives your saliva a chance to wash away acid and add minerals back into your enamel naturally.