Enjoy Your Summer Treats without All the Cavities

Some of the most popular summer treats are popsicles, ice cream and brownies. These are staples at many barbecues, parties and holidays. However, these sweet treats bring with them lost of sugar. That sugar can be so sweet to the taste, but can also cause cavities without the right oral hygiene and preventive measures. Here are a few ways you can enjoy your favorite summer treats without getting cavities by the time summer ends!

Summertime Means Treat Time

Do you have a favorite summertime snack? For many, ice cream is a go-to for cooling off and enjoying the sunshine. It’s also one of the most popular summertime snacks. In fact, the International Dairy Foods Association reports that June and July are the months when the most ice cream is sold all year long. Ice cream and other frozen novelties such as popsicles are sold more than any other type of frozen food or drink, especially in the summer.

Brownies, chocolate chip cookies, fruit pies and desserts featuring strawberries are also common summer treats. These frozen or fruity treats serve as both an indulgence and a palate cleanser. With all the summer parties, reunions and get-togethers, you’re bound to be eating more sweet treats than usual. However, don’t let those sugary desserts lead to not-so-sweet results by the time fall hits.

What Sugar Has to Do With Your Teeth

Before you take another bite out of a tasty treat, take a minute to think about what you are putting in your body. Sugar has many health effects that are negative if you consume too much.

Too much of it limits the amount of nutrient-rich foods you are consuming and can significantly raise your risk for obesity and chronic conditions.

Sugar can also lead to direct damage to your teeth. When you eat, sugars in your foods and drinks mix with bacteria in your mouth, creating plaque. This is a sticky, acidic substance that coats your teeth and eats away at your tooth enamel. The more sugar you eat, the more plaque your mouth makes and your teeth can decay. If you don’t brush that plaque away, it will continue to eat at your teeth, slowly causing cavities. Summer is prime time for desserts to be had every single day or even at every meal for some, meaning ample amounts of sugar on your teeth.

When plaque sits on your teeth, the acids that were created from sugar start to break up your tooth minerals that keep your teeth hard-packed and tough. Over time, the teeth weaken and thin, creating tiny cracks and openings where more plaque gets in. Decay can spread further into the tooth until it reaches the tooth center with nerves and blood vessels. It then causes an infection that can cost you the entire tooth. The key is to limit your sugar intake and keep your teeth clean this summer to avoid cavities.

Watch for These Hidden Sugar Foods

You may be getting tons of sugar in your diet without knowing it. That sugar will lead to everyday symptoms such as headaches, migraines, digestive upsets, fatigue, mood swings, depression, energy crashes and much more. Added sugar is not something the body needs to function and much of it gets stored as fat in the body. For your teeth, it leads to acidic plaque production and decay.

Always check food labels to know what kinds of ingredients you are getting from your food. The suggested daily limit is 6 teaspoons or less for children, 0 for infants, 6 for women and 9 teaspoons max for males. You can stay under those guidelines by choosing sugar-free options or lower sugar options in foods such as:

  • Yogurt
  • Pretzels
  • Breads (likely no sugar-free options)
  • Condiments
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Granola
  • Salad dressings
  • Dried fruit
  • Drinks (energy, sport varieties, sodas)
  • Smoothies
  • Peanut butter
  • Crackers

If you want your children to enjoy yummy summer snacks without all the sugar, stick to fruits, veggies, sugar free yogurts, beans, and other health foods. Doing so will help you enjoy your summer (and desserts when you actually do have sugar) instead of worrying about cavities.

The Basics of Keeping Your Teeth Healthy

You only get one set of permanent teeth, and once they are gone, they are gone. Your mouth makes plaque from sugars in your food every time you eat and drink. Reduce sugary drinks, sodas and sugary treats in general from your diet. If you follow the American Heart Association’s recommendations for daily sugar intake, you can significantly reduce your risk for oral health diseases like tooth decay and gum disease. An added benefit is that you reduce your risk for countless chronic conditions and diseases, plus weight gain caused by too much sugar in the body.

Make sure you also follow recommendations such as these ones that the American Dental Association suggests:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with ADA-approved toothpaste and brush for 2 minutes each time. Brush after every meal to prevent tooth decay and gum problems even further.
  • Make time to floss your teeth. You can’t expect to only brush your teeth and not have any dental problems. Floss 1-2 times a day, making sure you floss all the way up into your gum line and that you scrape your teeth as you go to remove excess plaque.
  • Take a travel pack with you on vacation, at the beach or for extended periods of time where you won’t be able to brush or floss. Keep toothpaste, floss, mouthwash and other oral hygiene essentials in your kit.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings. These appointments are essential for finding tooth decay and other oral health diseases while they are still in an early stage!

If you want more tips for avoiding cavities this summer or you need to schedule a consultation,  call Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies today at (970) 223-8425!