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The backyard barbecue is an American tradition, not to mention a great way to spend time with friends and family while having fun and enjoying some great food. In fact, we all sometimes loosen up a little when it comes to our normal diets when it’s barbecue time, and while your Overland Park dentist would never want to be a barbecue bummer—especially not in KC!—it is a good idea to know what impact certain foods can have on your teeth and overall oral health so that you can make the best choices.
Most backyard barbecues come complete with plenty of adult beverages. While you may already know that fun cocktails often contain a lot of sugar that can be harmful to your dental health, beer and liquor can be just as bad for your teeth in ways that you might not even realize. Drinking alcohol can actually dry out your mouth, reducing the amount of saliva. This is a problem, since saliva is what naturally cleans your teeth and prevents food from sticking to them. So, if you’re having a few drinks with your meal, drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage.
And while we’re on the subject of beverages, it might be a good idea to skip the soda and sports drinks entirely. Many of them are loaded with sugar and acids, which can contribute to cavities and damage your teeth. Also, we’ve said it before, but don’t chew on the ice. Sure, the sensation may be satisfying, but it can lead to a loose crown or even chipped or cracked teeth. Nobody wants that, especially not in the evening or on a weekend or holiday, when backyard barbecues are most likely to take place.
Unfortunately, beverages aren’t the only culprits that may be corrupting your teeth at your next backyard shindig. In fact, a lot of the foods that you’ll traditionally find at a backyard barbecue here in the Midwest contain more than their share of carbohydrates and sugars. Potato salad, baked beans, bread and buns, even condiments like ketchup and, well, barbecue sauce itself are loaded with carbs and sugar. Unfortunately, anything starchy like potato chips can break down into sugar in your mouth, and that sugar feeds the bacteria that causes cavities and other dental problems.
So when the dessert tray comes around, maybe just go for a small piece of cake or pie and a little dollop of ice cream. Still enough to enjoy the flavor, but not so much that your teeth will pay the price. And be sure to brush afterward!
Speaking of, corn on the cob is another standby of great Midwest barbecues. And it can be great for your health, overall. Just be sure to keep some floss handy, because anyone who has ever eaten corn on the cob knows that it can definitely get stuck between your teeth.
At the end of the day, your Overland Park dentist would never suggest avoiding your favorite barbecue foods entirely. After all, indulging a little bit is part of the fun! But knowing how these foods can impact your dental health can help you make the right decisions and know which things to indulge in and which things to pass up. And of course, be sure that you brush and floss afterward, so that you can continue to enjoy the barbecue season!
Even if you brush after every meal, there’s no substitute for regular checkups from your Overland Park dentist! So before your next backyard barbecue, call Watts Family Dental at (913) 338-3384 to schedule an appointment!