School is out and summer is here! The increase in vacations, picnics, pool parties, and family barbecues means most of us (including me) will increase our intake of lemonade, iced tea, soda, smoothies, and mixed drinks. While nothing beats a cold drink on a hot day, the list of summer drinks includes many that are packed with sugar. Here are a few tips to follow this summer, so that your next dental appointment is filled with good news!
- It is amazing how much sugar there is in a single serving of almost any sweet beverage- often more than in a serving of cookies or cake! Ice water, unsweetened iced tea, or seltzer water are great alternatives.
- Lemonade, Coke, sweet tea… sometimes you just have to have one! Instead of a second glass, make your next drink ice water. The water washes away much of the sugar coating your teeth, helping to prevent cavities.
- Lemonades and sodas (or any sugary drink with lemon or lime slices added) are not only packed with sugar, but are also very acidic, and therefore highly damaging to teeth. Having these acidic drinks with a meal, rather than just sipping them alone, buffers the acids and reduces damage to teeth.
- Some foods are better than others at protecting teeth. Cheese is a dental “superfood”- and can actually reduce the formation of cavities. At your next barbecue, put the Strawberry Daiquiri down for a minute when the cheese plate gets passed around.
- Drink, don’t sip! Sipping sugary drinks slowly, throughout the day, is the worst choice of all. Every sip is a fresh round of food for the bacteria that cause cavities. If you want to slowly sip a cold beverage, make sure it is unsweetened!