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- Keep plenty of water on hand and substitute healthier options whenever possible, like whole grain breads instead of white bread.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks that can stick to your teeth.
- Skip the ice cream and milkshakes by serving patriotic yogurt parfaits or fruit smoothies.
- Do your best to stick to your good oral care routines. Try carrying travel-sized products with you, even if you leave them in the car.
Summer is in full swing and nothing says summer like celebrating the 4th of July! Also known as Independence Day, the 4th of July is the day Americans commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. For most of us, this means backyard barbecues and pool parties. Just don’t forget about your teeth when you’re chowing down on some BBQ!
Planning Your 4th of July Menu
Some 4th of July dishes are practically required at a holiday cookout, like fresh watermelon and burgers on the grill, but not all summer staples are good for your teeth. When planning your menu, be sure to include foods that are friendly to your teeth. You don’t have to nix all of the fun stuff, just be smart with your menu and substitute some healthier options whenever possible.
- Have water on hand for you and your guests to enjoy because it can help rinse food particles away until you can brush and floss.
- Choose whole grain buns because they are better for you in more ways than one. Aside from being a healthier option, whole grain breads stick to your teeth less than white breads.
- Say cheese! It tastes great, stimulates saliva production, neutralizes acidic foods and drinks, and even contains calcium and protein that strengthens bones and enamel.
- If you can’t floss at your cookout, grab some celery and start crunching. Plus, celery packs a punch with Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
- Yogurt is loaded with calcium, protein, and good bacteria that is good for teeth and gums. Choose an option without added sugar for the most benefit.
Foods to Avoid on the 4th of July
Ice cream, potato chips, and sugary drinks are common at cookouts, but they can cause havoc in your mouth. Sugar sticks to your teeth, allowing bacteria to build up and erode tooth enamel. Be cautious when choosing to enjoy potato chips, popsicles, sodas and sugary sports drinks, especially if you won’t be able to brush your teeth after eating.
Healthy 4th of July Recipes
Knowing what to avoid is only half the battle. How can you keep everyone happy without neglecting their teeth? It probably won’t be a priority to brush and floss when you’re lounging by the pool with family and friends, so try to make good choices to protect your teeth. From kebabs to salsas, there are plenty of healthy 4th of July recipes to make any cookout complete. If you’d like to keep it simple, stick to these quick and easy tips.
- Add at least one veggie tray with a good mix of vegetables. Don’t forget the celery!
- Skip the sugar-loaded ice cream and make patriotic fruit parfaits with blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries that are all in season.
- Speaking of fruit, almost everything is in season and that means fruit smoothies can be substituted for milkshakes.
- Chill a mix of melon chunks – honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon – for a healthier substitute to popsicles.
- Serve a variety of dressings with a salad bowl of mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and more.
4th of July Oral Care Tips
Soak up the sun this summer, but don’t forget to care for your teeth. You don’t want a dental emergency derailing your summer fun! Do your best to follow good oral care routines and make healthy choices at barbecues.
- Carry sugar-free chewing gum to help clean your teeth until you are able to brush.
- Pick up a travel-size toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. You can carry them in a purse, backpack, or leave them in your car so you won’t have to compromise your oral care.
Our Jefferson Dental Content Committee supports our team by educational and informational articles related to what we do, oral care tips, and current events in our communities.