Summer break means warm weather, vacations, and your favorite summer sweets! However, if this is your child’s first summer with braces, you may be in search of more braces-friendly alternatives. These healthier substitutes will keep everyone in your family smiling while also avoiding an orthodontic emergency.
During the summer, it seems as if boxes of store-bought popsicles are nearly always on hand everywhere you go. Sure, they are a cheap way to keep your kids cool when the weather is hot, but these sugary treats can wreak havoc on your teeth and a smile with braces. Along with other frozen treats, popsicles are loaded with sugar that clings to your teeth and attracts bacteria that erodes tooth enamel.
Healthy Alternative: DIY Fruit Pops
Take your favorite summer treat and significantly decrease the sugar content by making your own. Healthy homemade fruit popsicles can be made with five ingredients or less! Making homemade fruit popsicles are a fun way for kids and adults to create a more nutritious snack without high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. Braces or not, everyone in the family is sure to love these wholesome fruit pops.
Chewing on Ice
Chewing on ice mindlessly is an incredibly common habit, especially during the hot summer months. You may initially think that ice is the perfect summer solution for keeping you cool while enjoying a sugar-free snack, but think again. Chewing on ice cubes can cause gum injuries, broken brackets, and even broken teeth.
Healthy Alternative: Refreshing Watermelon
Watermelon is the ideal snack for your teeth. Composed of 92% water, this sweet snack is also high in vitamin C. Watermelon will also help to keep you hydrated while stimulating your salivary flow. Saliva is vital to your dental health as it neutralizes harmful acids in your mouth and helps to wash away food bacteria. Staying hydrated and keeping your saliva levels high will prevent tooth decay and other oral health issues. Extremely braces-friendly, cooling down with a piece of refreshing watermelon is the perfect well-balanced snack.
Let’s state the obvious – candy is bad for you whether you have braces or not. It’s loaded with sugar, which fuels the bacteria on your teeth to produce acids that cause tooth decay. When you add in brackets and wires, your teeth will most certainly be facing an increased risk of tooth decay. The best way to avoid cavities and decay with braces is by simply avoiding candy in the first place.
Healthy Alternative: Frozen Fruit
Sweet and satisfying berries like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are all in season during the summer months. Containing cancer-fighting antioxidants and vitamin C, berries are beneficial treats that promote healing. Berries can help to decrease gum inflammation, and can even help to keep you hydrated. Frozen berries are the ideal sweet-solution for patients with braces. They can be eaten by themselves, put into smoothies, or paired with another healthy treat like frozen yogurt.
Ice cream is one of the most popular dessert options in America. While your teeth aren’t fond of the sugar in ice cream, they do love the calcium it supplies. The key to ice cream is to find a healthier version or to create your own with reduced sugar and fat.
Low-Fat Frozen Yogurt
Yogurt is an excellent summer treat that is great for your teeth. Full of vitamins and minerals, packed with probiotics, and high in calcium, yogurt is the ideal tooth-friendly alternative to ice cream. When choosing a yogurt, always be mindful of the sugar content and read any labels before purchasing. Some yogurts can contain as much sugar as a can of soda! Look for yogurt that is low in sugar, plain, or unsweetened. Plain yogurt can always be altered and improved by adding in your own toppings and treats. Granola, fresh berries, and a dash of cinnamon can take plain yogurt from boring to an extra-special summertime treat. Mix it all up, and pour your combination into popsicle molds for a homemade treat ideal for braces.
Not All Snacks Are Created Equal
Despite your best efforts, it may be impossible to exercise complete control over summer snacks, so make better choices when you can. When choosing a tasty treat, always remember that not all snacks are created equal. Have you discovered a new summer sweet alternative? Let Thomas Orthodontics know at your next checkup so we can add it to our list!