July is National Picnic Month—the perfect excuse to get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and spend quality time with family! When planning your picnic, it’s all too easy to load up your shopping cart with convenient, pre-packaged options from the supermarket. However, these processed foods can have long-lasting damage on your teeth. Alternatively, Dr. Tikson has some simple suggestions to make your picnic basket delicious and healthy for your mouth all summer long.
- Get the right kind of crunch. Starchy chips and crackers tend to stick to your teeth, resulting in acid buildup that can lead to cavities. It’s better to steer clear of these options, opting instead for crunchy fruits and veggies such as apples, carrots, bell peppers, and celery. Because of their crunchy qualities, these fruits and veggies can actually help clean your teeth by scrubbing away plaque! When paired with peanut butter or hummus, these tasty snacks can also serve as a great protein source in your picnic basket.
- Cheese, please! Cheese is a dental superfood. A great source of calcium and protein, hard cheeses can actually lower the acidity level of the mouth, promoting oral hygiene. Cheese also contains casein, a protein which helps protect the surface of your teeth. When shopping for your picnic, consider adding some sharp cheddar or Brie to your cart—they pair well with your crunchy apples!
- Bring a hydration station. When preparing beverages for your picnic, you should always choose water over fruit juice or soda. These sugary drinks erode the enamel of your teeth, whereas water is one of the best tools we have for keeping our mouths happy and healthy. If plain water seems too dull, you can try infusing your water with fruit for added flavor. However, you should be cautious about supplementing your water with acidic citrus fruits, which can also erode the enamel. Instead, try adding cucumber and mint or strawberry and basil to your water!
- Don’t forget the sweet treats! Delicious fruits, such as kiwi and strawberries, can serve as a great alternative to sugary desserts. High in vitamin C, these fruits can help strengthen blood vessels and reduce inflammation, promoting healthy gums.
Dr. Tikson’s last piece of advice for your mouth-friendly picnic is to enjoy some time in the sunlight! The sun is our best natural source of vitamin D, which is vital for oral health since it allows the body to absorb calcium. For best absorption, try to spend about 15 minutes in the sunlight before lathering on your sunscreen. Then, you can hit the SPF and enjoy your summer day in the sun!