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Memorial Day BBQs:  Healthy Grilling Options

 

For many people, Memorial Day is the official start to the summer season, and that usually means dusting off the grill and enjoying a barbecue. Unfortunately, many traditional grilled foods are not tooth-friendly. Barbecue sauce sticks to your teeth, corn on the cob gets caught in your teeth, and the acid in lemonade can wear away your enamel. Standard dessert options aren't any better; popsicles stain your teeth and s'mores are both sticky and full of sugar.

There are some healthier options, however. Try substituting these foods which are good for your teeth:

The Main Course

Instead of whipping out the barbecue sauce, try grilling meats that are just as tasty without it. Your tooth enamel is made from minerals, so try replenishing those with meats that have minerals in them.

  • Try grilling some seafood, which is high in calcium
  • Red meats, such as burgers and steaks contain phosphorous
  • Add some cheese to those burgers and you have the benefit of both minerals

Side Dishes

Replace the chips, pretzels, and crackers with a vegetable tray. These crunchy foods contain a lot of water and chewing them produces more saliva, both of which neutralize the bacteria that produces cavities. They are also naturally abrasive, which removes plaque and food particles.

  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Bell Peppers - these also contain vitamin C, which is good for your gums

Serve these with a vegetable dip made from sour cream or greek yogurt for added calcium.

Add a tray of hard boiled or deviled eggs. The egg yolks are a good source of vitamin D, which helps your body to absorb calcium better.

Some homemade baked beans are another healthy option, because beans contain antioxidants. Antioxidants fight the bacteria that can lead to periodontal disease.

Dessert

A fruit tray is an excellent choice. There are a wide variety of fresh fruits available to satisfy all palates.  The following fruits are good sources of vitamin C:

  • Oranges
  • Kiwi
  • Strawberries

Add these fruits that are high in antioxidants:

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Raisins

Serve with a fruit dip made with cream cheese or yogurt for added calcium.

Conclusion

From whitening your teeth and freshening your breath to preventing cavities and periodontal disease, the foods on this list actually provide the same benefits as top-of-the-line toothpastes and mouthwashes. All are delicious, and a fresh alternative to your usual summertime menu. Making consistent good food choices will make your next dental appointment a breeze.