On a hot, sunny day, there’s nothing more refreshing than a tasty cold drink. And it’s especially important to stay hydrated as the weather heats up. But remember that not all beverages are healthy choices. Here are a few oral health tips to help you enjoy your favorite summertime beverages and keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape throughout the upcoming season.
- When in doubt, choose water. When it comes to keeping hydrated, why not choose the beverage that’s best for your oral health AND your overall health? Water not only washes away leftover food particles and bad bacteria, it also helps to restore the pH balance inside your mouth. If you have access to fluoridated tap water, that’s an even better choice.
- Another healthy choice is milk. A great accompaniment to virtually any summertime meal is an ice-cold glass of milk. The calcium will help strengthen your teeth, and the protein in milk helps to maintain that all-important pH balance inside your mouth.
- Vegetable juice is another tooth-healthy beverage. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. After all, if vegetables are good for you, then vegetable juice should be as well, right? That’s true, but only if the vegetable juice is low in sugar. Believe it or not, some are loaded with it, so read the label carefully and only choose those brands that are lower in sugar.
- Enjoy a refreshing iced tea! Some of the compounds in tea actually help to fight bacteria growth inside your mouth, and that in turn can help to reduce your risk of forming cavities and gum disease. Just make sure that your iced tea doesn’t contain sugar!
- Avoid carbonated drinks and/or sugary drinks. It may be tempting to have a cold soda at the beach or some other fun summertime venue, but the combination of the sugar and the carbonation of these drinks make them especially bad for your teeth and gums. Sugar feeds cavity-creating bacteria inside your mouth, and carbonation eats away at your tooth enamel.
- Whatever beverage you choose, use a straw. This is especially important for those rare occasions when you choose to drink an acidic or carbonated beverage – such as fruit juice or soda, for example. Using a straw helps to minimize the amount of time that your teeth are in contact with the less-than-healthy beverage.
It’s important in the heat of summer to stay hydrated. Just remember to do that with a tooth-healthy beverage, and you’ll continue to enjoy good oral health all through the summer months ahead.