Summer brings with it leisurely, lax routines and an increased likelihood of a few more sweet treats during those extra-long days. Since teeth troubles can happen to adults and children—one in five US children between the ages of 6 to 11 have at least one untreated cavity and more than one in four adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay—swapping out ice cream cones and sticky cotton candy with fresh, healthy snacks and dishes can go a long way in keeping those pearly whites healthy all summer.
June is National Fresh Fruits and Veggies Month, so there’s an abundance of in-season options for all ages and diets. Below we’ve tracked down four healthy swaps for some of those tried-and-true summer snacks. Your mouth will thank you!
Swap out a sugary snow cone for a three-ingredient smoothie
Snow cones and summer go hand-in-hand, but many snow cones contain loads of sugar which harm even the most diligent brushers. If you’re craving something cold and refreshing, try a simple three-ingredient smoothie with some in-season fruits. There are many simple recipes that include tangerine, pineapple and bananas, or try a perfect summer quencher—carrot, mango and coconut.
Swap out creamy potato salad for spinach salad
People often feel inspired to fire up the grill when the weather warms up, and that means you’ll likely encounter homemade or store-bought potato salad at a cookout or two. Though a little of this dish isn’t bad, the vinegar, mayonnaise, and fats present in most traditional potato salads aren’t friendly to your stomach or your smile. If you’re looking for a side that will help your teeth, go with a salad featuring leafy veggies such as spinach. High fiber foods like these not only promote healthy cholesterol levels, but they also require lots of chewing and therefore naturally help scrub your teeth clean.
Swap out fudgy ice pops for homemade summer fruit pops
Whether you’re lounging by the pool or finishing off a grilled outdoor meal, a frosty ice pop always satisfies. Instead of a traditional fudgy ice pop, which often contains high fructose corn syrup and chemicals, opt for a homemade fruit pop featuring some of the summer’s freshest options like blackberries, raspberries and peaches. There are many recipes online, so find one that suits you and get to freezing.
Swap out fair funnel cake for grilled kabobs
It wouldn’t be summer without an outdoor festival, and such events often offer an array of snacks and treats. Try to avoid sugar-laden ones like funnel cakes or cotton candy. Instead, opt for grilled kabobs which typically come in a meat or veggie version. Those healthy vitamins and proteins will help your smile, and your stomach, as you take a turn (or two!) around the Ferris wheel.
If you do not have a dental insurance plan through your employer, Delta Dental of Oklahoma offers plans specifically designed to meet the needs of Oklahomans outside of the workplace. Learn more or enroll today at DeltaDentalOK.org/CoversMe.