Summer can be a tough time for your sweet tooth with a tempting array of sweets and sugary drinks readily available at barbecues, get-togethers and store checkout counters. But it can also be a great time to discover the many ripe and delicious options available that may actually be good for your teeth. Here’s our list of the best summer foods for your teeth to help get you started.

Foods that Clean Your Teeth

It may sound surprising, but there are actually foods that can help clean your teeth. Nicknamed “nature’s toothbrush,” biting into the crisp texture of a fresh apple has been known to help scrub your teeth clean. Pears, celery, carrots and even some hard cheeses can also provide a similar result. Of course, eating crisp fruit is no substitute for actually brushing your teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride, but it can help if you’re looking for a midday snack that won’t negatively impact your teeth. If you have braces, make sure to check with your orthodontist before eating whole fruit or crunchy foods.

Foods that Whiten Your Teeth

Some foods can also help to naturally whiten your teeth. Strawberries are a top choice because they contain a special enzyme called malic acid. Munching on fruits and veggies that help clean your teeth can also make them appear whiter by removing plaque and stains. Tart foods like oranges and pineapples may increase saliva production, which can help to wash your teeth clean, as well. Remember to brush your teeth afterwards, though, if eating acidic foods, as the acidic residue can also wear away at your enamel and lead to tooth decay.

Foods that Nourish Your Teeth

Foods rich in calcium and other minerals and vitamins also top the list of best summer foods for your teeth. The farmers market is a great place to find new and fresh options in the summer. Try a refreshing yogurt parfait with fresh summer fruits or a cheese board with new cheeses paired with fresh apples and grapes to add a bit of natural sweetness. Fresh leafy greens in salads are another wonderful way to get extra nutrients to nourish your teeth and bones.

Foods to Avoid

When talking about the best summer foods for your teeth, it’s important to also remember which foods are important to avoid. Foods and drinks high in sugar or corn syrup can be bad for your teeth because the sugar combines with your saliva to produce a cavity-causing sticky residue called plaque. Any foods that are extra chewy or sticky that may leave behind a residue or food debris between your teeth are also best to avoid or enjoy in moderation, being sure to brush as soon as possible if you do consume them.

Cold Treats and Sensitive Teeth

Last but not least, cold treats are popular in the summer, but they can be tough to enjoy if you have sensitive teeth. Ice cream and popsicles aren’t typically among the best summer foods for your teeth, but when you want to cool down on a hot summer day, they can be hard to resist.

The good news is, you don’t have to avoid them completely. Choosing natural cold treats like whole fruit based popsicles or nutrient-rich, sugar-free yogurt bars can be a healthy alternative to traditional options. It may also be helpful to talk to your dentist about if a sensitive toothpaste is right for you, to help you enjoy the refreshing cold of your favorite treats once again this summer.

Call our Canton Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.