Independence Day celebrations typically involve barbecue, sugary foods and acidic drinks. While delicious, these foods can damage tooth enamel, while increasing the risk of tooth decay. Fortunately, the following tasty treats can actually boost dental health while adding some color and flavor to your Fourth of July gathering.
- Watermelon: This juicy fruit has a rich nutritional profile that includes phytochemicals such as lycopene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and macular diseases. At the same time, watermelon consists of over 90 percent water, which helps to dilute sugars within the fruit, while stimulating saliva production that protects the teeth from bacteria.
- Cheese: There are plenty of good reasons to get out the cheese platter for your Independence Day celebration. Packed with cavity-fighting calcium, cheese also offers casein and whey protein, which appear to help reduce enamel demineralization. Research has also shown that cheese helps to ward off cavities by balancing oral pH.
- Pears: Fresh pears have a fibrous texture, which helps scrub away plaque. They also naturally neutralize acid, which can weaken tooth enamel. Just make sure to steer clear of dried pears, since these have sticky textures that will actually increase your risk of landing in the dentist chair.
- Yogurt parfaits: Like cheese, yogurt contains calcium and casein to help keep your enamel strong. It also contains beneficial oral bacteria that help control the bacteria responsible for causing cavities and periodontal disease.
Blueberries and strawberries: Make your yogurt parfaits red, white and blue by tossing in some blueberries and strawberries. Research suggests that blueberries can help inhibit the formation of bad oral bacteria; while strawberries contain malic acid, a natural enamel whitener.