Happy Fourth of July from all of us at Dr. Susan Tikson’s office! For some people, July 4th is synonymous with parades and concerts, while for others, it is all about the backyard barbecues. It’s been estimated that about 74 million Americans grill out every Fourth of July. No matter what your final destination is for the 4th, for most of us, food will be a highlight along the way.
We’ve compiled a few ways to to keep your smile bright this barbecue season. Read on for key tips to avoid unnecessary dental treatment down the road.
- Avoid hard foods
This includes common barbecue snacks and appetizers like pretzels, potato chips, and hard candies. Pretzels and chips are filled with starch, which tends to get trapped in your teeth. If you choose to indulge in snacks like these, be sure to floss afterward to remove any extra plaque-causing food particles. Hard candy, on the other hand, is full of sugar and can also lead to broken or chipped teeth. Why not make sure there are plenty of safe, healthy options wherever you go by bringing one or two items from our list of smile-conscious summer snacks?
- Don’t chew ice
Chances are, you’ve crunched on an ice cube or two on occasion. Unfortunately, this hard-to-resist habit can cause dental damage including cracked and chipped teeth, damage to tooth enamel, problems with existing dental work such as fillings and braces, and sore jaw muscles. The impact of chewing ice can make teeth more prone to cavities and create sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, so we recommend avoiding this crunchy temptation as much as possible.
- Don’t open beer, soda, or water bottles with your teeth
When the bottle opener goes missing, people may resort to some unsafe methods that often involve their teeth. Beer bottle tooth injuries make up a large percentage of barbecue-related dental issues.
- Practice grill safety
If you clean your barbecue grill with a wire bristle brush, make sure no bristles get left behind, or they might end up in your food and cause serious problems. Most of the injuries from consuming these small bristles—yes, this does actually happen—are to the throat, tongue, mouth, palate, and teeth. As a result, it’s best to inspect grilled food before serving it or find alternative cleaning methods like nylon bristle brushes, stainless steel grid scrapers, or pumice stones.
- Drink plenty of water
One of the best—and easiest—ways to care for your teeth at cookouts is to alternate drinks like beer and soda with water. This will help keep your teeth clean and the pH level in your mouth normal.
No matter how your family chooses to celebrate the Fourth of July, we hope you enjoy it, stay safe, and brush your teeth as soon as you get home!