Packing a healthy picnic is a fantastic way to get outside and spend some time with your family this summer. You can enjoy a picnic in the Rose Garden, at Multnomah Falls, or wherever you like! No matter what you bring for your main dish, we want to share some ideas for healthy summer picnic foods that can improve your oral health while you have fun in the sun!
Raw vegetables like carrots, celery, and bell pepper are excellent dipping alternatives to unhealthy chips and crackers. Starchy carbs like potato chips and crackers can stick to your teeth and cause harmful acid buildup, leading to cavities.
Fibrous vegetables like celery can clean your teeth as you eat. So, choose vegetables instead of chips. They are better for your overall health and won’t stick to your teeth like starchy carbs typically used as dippers.
Cheese is a typical picnic food item that is very good for your teeth! It has high levels of phosphate and calcium, which naturally strengthen teeth and bones, but it also helps balance the pH level in your mouth, which means less harmful acid, more cleansing saliva, and fewer cavities.
What would a 4th of July picnic be without watermelon? Watermelon is high in vitamins and antioxidants that support your gums and teeth. Also, its water content helps rinse your mouth to prevent bacteria.
Apples are high in water and fiber, stimulating your gums and increasing saliva production. The fibrous nature of apples helps scrub teeth as you eat them, much like the vegetables mentioned earlier. We suggest using fresh apple slices as a healthy dessert at the end of your picnic to satisfy your sweet tooth and help scrub any leftover debris from between your teeth.
Yogurt is a fun picnic snack that can serve as a dessert or a base for other tasty treats if you can properly digest dairy products. Yogurt contains calcium and protein, which help strengthen tooth enamel and protect against cavities. Yogurt also helps boost gum health. A Japanese study of 1,000 adults revealed that the healthiest gums were found in those who ate the most yogurt. The good bacteria found in yogurt help slow the growth of cavity-causing bacteria.
When searching for the healthiest yogurt, we suggest going for non-fat and avoiding sweetened yogurt, whether it is sweetened by real sugar or artificial sweeteners. You can naturally sweeten your yogurt by adding in some blueberries or other fruit for some great flavor and antioxidants!
If you cannot digest dairy well, there are non-dairy yogurts such as those made from nuts or coconuts that contain many of the good nutrients and qualities of dairy yogurt.
Finally, water is one of the best things you can bring to your summer picnic. Water helps make teeth more resistant to acidic food and conditions, which are damaging to the teeth.
When preparing a picnic, grab a water bottle instead of juice or soda. Also, you can swish water around after eating to help keep your mouth clean. Swishing water helps remove debris caught in your teeth and helps prevent acid buildup.
Summer is a beautiful time here in Portland. Make the best of it by getting out and about and having a picnic with healthy snacks that promote healthy teeth and body and have a great time! From all of us at Dental Arts & Wellness, we wish you a happy 4th of July!