The weather is getting nicer and the weekends are filling up with invitations to get together for that great warm-weather activity: the summer barbecue. The company will be friendly, the conversation easy, and most likely, the food will be messy.
So, this year as you head out for the great outdoors, don’t let the summer activities compromise your oral health.
Think about it – the mere idea of a barbecue brings in thoughts of chops and ribs, corn on the cob, and sweet iced tea. The menu may be tasty, but the consequence could be uncomfortable at the very least (no one likes corn kernels stuck in their teeth) and hazardous in a worst case scenario, if you bite down too hard on a rib bone.
However, armed with sunscreen and a game plan, you can make this summer the best ever.
What Can I Bring?
You may not have any control over the barbecue menu, but you can pitch in.
It’s always considerate to ask your host or hostess what you can bring for a get-together. And in this case, you can always think of a dish that is all-around healthy.
Here are a few suggestions for smile-worthy contributions:
A Vegetable Platter: There are certain foods that are natural teeth-cleaners that happen to be tasty as well. Raw carrots, celery, and radishes are similar to apples in that their fiber content and “chew” factor make them a good choice for proper oral health.
A Cheese Plate or Dairy-based Dip: Dairy products are well known for the calcium they provide. That same calcium strengthens tooth enamel. If you’re worried about calories, you can always opt for lower-fat cheeses. As for your dip, use nutritious and tangy Greek-style yogurt.
A Nutrition-Packed Salad: Salads don’t have to be the same old leafy greens. You can make a salad of spinach (high fiber and water content), strawberries (natural enamel whitener), and almonds (calcium).
Eating for a healthy mouth never has to be boring.
What to Avoid
Of course, you want to be able to have a good time and enjoy the afternoon, but there are a few foods you’ll want to eat/drink in moderation:
• Sweet, sugary sodas
• Beveredges that stain your teeth
• Gooey desserts
• Citrus drinks/desserts
• Starchy foods
One barbecue splurge won’t have much of an impact on your overall dental health, but remember, it’s going to be a long, hot summer.
What to Seek Out
There are a few “usual suspects” you’ll find at almost any barbecue. And that’s good news because there are summer favorites you’ll see over and over again:
Watermelon: While it tastes like candy, watermelon is actually a great source of Vitamin C that’s good for your teeth and gums.
Nuts: Here you get the mouth-fullness of fat, but it’s a healthy fat. Nuts also contain minerals that are good for your teeth.
Whole grain breads and buns: With so many great options for your sandwich and bread needs, there are often many different kinds of healthy alternatives. Whole grains are a bonus because they don’t have any refined sugars.
Water: Water is not only essential to keep you hydrated, but drinking it also acts as a mouth-cleansing agent.
It’s summertime and you don’t want to be bogged down by a weighty purse or backpack. You can still travel light and be savvy enough to bring a survival kit. A simple trip to your local drugstore will provide a lot of small supplies suitable to make you smile big at your backyard bash:
• Travel size toothbrush and paste
• Small bottle of alcohol-free mouthwash
• Purse-sized dental floss or teeth cleaners
• Sugar-free gum
You can even leave these items in your car or in the saddle pouch of your bicycle.
If you want more information on great summer foods and snacks to include at your next barbecue, please call us at (208) 375-1012 today.