With summer in full swing, it’s time to relax by the pool, throw a big barbecue, or chill out and watch a movie with the family. These activities are even more fun with your favorite snacks. Unfortunately, many summer staples are filled with sugar and acids, which can wear down your enamel, putting you at risk for decay and infection. The last thing anyone wants to do during vacation is get a filling or a root canal. Dr. Cindy Flanagan and our team want you to be able to have your (low-sugar, tooth-healthy) cake and eat it, too! Luckily, there are tons of smile-safe treat options. Read on to learn about six summer treats that aren’t bad for your oral health.
#1: Low-Sugar Frozen Yogurt
Frozen yogurt can absolutely be a healthy, tooth-friendly summer snack option. After all, yogurt contains calcium, which can help strengthen your enamel. However, not all froyos are created equal. Dense, sugary, topping-filled options are bad for your teeth and, let’s face it, not any better for you than plain old ice cream. This is why we recommend making your own delicious, low-sugar frozen yogurt! There are tons of DIY froyo recipes out there, but one of our favorites comes from Serious Eats. You can make your own thick, creamy, cool froyo with just three ingredients (“full-fat plain yogurt…a cup of sugar…and a pinch of salt”). Of course, you can always add fruit, some dark chocolate chips, or a bit of honey to this recipe to mix it up. We’d also recommend replacing the cup of sugar with an alternative sweetener like stevia or xylitol.
#2: Fruit Kebabs
These unique treats are fun to eat and incredibly easy to make! While we’d recommend steering clear of high-acid fruits, like citrus, there are virtually limitless fruit combinations to try. We often recommend adding a little cheese to your fruit kebabs. Not only does this make them more interesting, cheese is packed with enamel-strengthening calcium, just like yogurt. One popular combination is blackberry, feta, and watermelon, as described on A Healthy Life for Me.
#3: Dark Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Strawberries are a quintessential summer snack! As a bonus, they could actually help whiten your smile. Health explains: “these summer berries contain malic acid, a natural enamel whitener.” Of course, we don’t recommend dousing your strawberries in sugar, eating them with balsamic vinegar (which is very acidic), or enjoying them atop a big bowl of dense, sugary ice cream. Instead, we suggest covering your strawberries with a thin coating of dark chocolate (which typically contains less sugar and fat than milk or white chocolate) and putting them in the refrigerator to set. These cool treats can satisfy chocolate-lovers and offer a burst of berry flavor without harming your teeth.
#4: Cucumber Roll-Ups
Cucumbers are an ideal summer vegetable: crisp, refreshing, and light. In lieu of starchy sandwiches or chips, we recommend cucumber roll-ups as a savory snack. The concept is simple—you take a cucumber, slice it long-ways, and roll some delicious ingredients inside of it. There are a variety of recipes for these, such as The Wholesome Dish’s Meditteranean Cucumber Roll-Ups, filled with hummus, feta, and red pepper.
#5: Xylitol-Sweetened Almond Cookies
We get it: every once in a while, you just need a cookie. However, rather than reaching for a sugary chocolate chip or starchy snickerdoodle, we recommend this recipe for almond cookies with xylitol from Delta Dental. In addition to being tasty, it’s packed with tooth-friendly ingredients! Almonds are a great source of calcium, fiber, and protein. Plus, in addition to being an excellent artificial sweetener, xylitol actually helps kill cavity-causing bacteria! This snack is a win-win for your oral health.
#6: A Cooling Mint Smoothie
Herbs are a great way to pack your snacks with flavor without adding sugars, acids, and fats! Mint is cool, zesty, and revitalizing in the summertime. It can be easily blended into a smoothie for a unique, soothing treat. Green Blender offers a whopping 29 mint smoothie recipes to keep you refreshed all summer long.
Need More Summer Smile Tips?
Dr. Flanagan and our team are here to help you in every season. Remember, if you haven’t seen us in the last six months, you’re due for your biannual cleaning and examination. Contact our Houston dental practice today to find out more and schedule an appointment!