Choose These Summertime Foods for Good Oral and Vision Health

Ah… summer. Time to relax and unwind. While you’re relaxing and enjoying the summer, remember to keep up your oral health routine. To help you do that, here are some summertime fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth so you can protect your smile while enjoying the sun.

Although we may associate summer with ice cream, ice pops and s’mores, those summertime choices can increase the risk of tooth decay. Try satisfying your sweet craving with fruit instead. Not only does fruit provide overall health benefits, they have benefits for your smile, too.

Strawberries and summer are a wonderful eating strawberries These berries are filled with vitamin C, and vitamin C is needed for the production of collagen. Collagen helps maintain the strength of your gums and strong gums are important for keeping a healthy smile. Reducing plaque and removing the surface stains on your teeth are also on the to-do list of vitamin C. Remember strawberries are acidic, so drink plenty of water after your summer treat. You’ll be drinking the extra water in the summer heat anyway.

Apples have a high water content and stimulate saliva production. Your saliva keeps the bacteria in your mouth under control. Also, when you eat this low-acid, fibrous fruit, it scrubs the surface of your teeth. Apples, like strawberries, are called “dental detergents” for this reason.

Watermelons, along with strawberries and just like apples, are a water-rich fruit. Along with their smile benefits, they are helping to keep you hydrated during the hot days of summer. Water helps remove particles of food in your mouth and stuck in your teeth, it washes away bacteria, and helps promote saliva production. All this helps increase the natural protection of tooth enamel. Watermelon also has that valuable vitamin C which is also helping to kill bacteria in your mouth and strengthen gum tissues.

Having some strawberries and watermelon cut up and ready to eat in the fridge will make it easier for you and your family to make the choice of healthy fruit over other sweet snacks. Year round, the food you choose to eat can have an impact on your oral health. Consider these other food choices to maintain your healthy smile.

Think of your eyes, too

As your vision benefits provider, we also have some summer food recommendations for your eye health. The vitamin C found in the fruits suggested above could lower your risk of developing cataracts, scientific evidence suggests, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA). The AOA also reported that eating foods with vitamin C along with beta-carotene, vitamin E and other nutrients can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Fruits and vegetables available fresh in the summer, like raspberries and bell peppers, provide these nutrients. Salads can be lighter fare for hot days, so toss in eye-healthy spinach and carrots. Lutein and zeaxanthin, beneficial to your eyes, can be found in broccoli, peas and avocados, which are other great additions to a summer salad. You’ll probably be grilling this summer, and fish, like salmon, are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to your eye health. Looks like we put together a great summer menu–salad, grilled salmon and fruit for dessert.

Relax, and keep up the healthy routine

So now you can relax even more since we’ve just set up a great summer menu and snacks that will keep your teeth and eyes healthy this summer. Keep up your oral health routine by brushing twice daily and if you do partake in the summer tradition of s’mores or other foods with cavity-causing sugar, drink lots of water. Not only will you stay hydrated, so imperative in the heat, but you will be washing away excess food particles that stick to your teeth.

Look for more upcoming blogs with tips for UV protection and dental emergency kits to continue our summer theme and celebrate National Park and Recreation Month and National Picnic Month.

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