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Summer Food for Dental Health: 1800Dentist.com

Many people love summer. The hottest season is marked by the longest day of the year, plenty of sunshine, vacation time and fireflies. Summer is also the time of year to enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables that are in peak season and can boost dental health.

Once Memorial Day comes and goes, the official BBQ and party season kick into gear. As a result even the healthiest eater can be tempted by less than wholesome foods including processed meats (in the form of hot dogs), carbohydrates (such as potato chips) and empty calories (courtesy of thirst quenching soda). However, the season is also time to feast on bumper crops of the good stuff brimming with vitamins and nutrients perfect for promoting dental health.

Berries

Berries are small, edible fruits and there are a variety of the foods. Tomatoes, cranberries and grapes all fall into this category and are typically abundant and affordable year round (plus they are all excellent choices for boosting dental health and general well being). However, come summer, individuals have the ability to gorge on fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries and reap the nutritional benefits linked with some of summers best fruit.

Strawberries are by far the most popular healthy seasonal berry; the fruit accounted for 55 percent of all berry sales in 2011 and for good reason (http://www.statista.com/statistics/191512/fresh-berry-category-share-in-2011/). Ripe, juicy, red strawberries are the perfect snack food for self proclaimed 'sugar addicts' as the perfect berry will taste better than any candy out there, minus the risks and with vitamins and minerals essential for fueling the human body.

One cup of strawberries is delivers a variety of nutrition including magnesium, folate and potassium. A full cup of the summer food also delivers a bit of calcium and over 100 mg of vitamin C; both nutrients are vital to dental health. 

In regards to dental health calcium is an important compound for "blood clotting, sending nerve signals, releasing hormones and enzymes, as well as muscle and blood vessel contraction and relaxation," (1-800-DENTIST). It is also essential for bone mineralization within the human body as bones and teeth are where 99 percent of our ingested calcium is stored. Low levels of calcium can result in gum disease and tooth loss.

Vitamin C is also essential to dental health, especially in regards to recuperating after oral surgery including tooth extractions, gum grafts and bone grafts. Healthy doses of Vitamin C can speed up the recovery process associated with those dental treatments. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) patients suffering from low levels of Vitamin C will need more time to recover from their oral surgery procedures.

Perhaps you are a blueberry (41 percent of 2011 sales) or raspberry (12 percent of 2011 sales) fan? These tiny little berries are known for packing a huge antioxidant, phytochemicals and flavonoids that can help ward of various cancers. Plus those fruits also deliver some Vitamin C along with the naturally fantastic flavor.


Corn

Of all of America's crops, corn is one of the most versatile. The food has been used to produce sweeteners, fuel and even decor for the holiday season. However, sweet summer corn that has made it from harvest to table in a brief period of time is some of the most delicious.

When corn is harvested young, the starch present will be in its "milk stage." the food can be boiled, steamed or roasted and provide natural goodness as well as some challenges to dental health. Sweet corn does deliver a nutritional wallop as it is rich in many nutrients important for dental health including fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamin and vitamin C. The best way to get the nutritional boost are advised to eat the corn roasted, boiled or BBQ sans butter; the natural sweetness of corn will be good enough.

Despite the benefits of eating corn, there are risks associated with the food. Most people who have eaten corn directly from the cob have experienced the unpleasant side effect of bits of the food become wedged in between teeth. Fortunately implementing the oral hygiene behavior of flossing after eating corn off the cob will remedy the issue and prevent dental plaque from banding together to remove the food particles left behind.

Cherries

Cherries a fleshy stone fruit; the red flesh is delicious but the pits can be poisonous if consumed in excess. 1800Dentist.com encourages spitting the seeds out to avoid implications and then feasting on the fresh fruit when in season to reap the nutritional rewards in the food.

Cherries get their red hue from anthocyanins which is a compound that can minimize pain, inflammation (a leading symptom of gingivitis), reduce cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The fruit is rich in Vitamin A (that promotes promotes normal growth body cell growth), vitamins C, E, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and fiber.

The time to get the best selection and values on summer foods is when the items are in season. While the foods can certainly perk up a picnic, individuals will still need to do more to ensure dental health.  Individuals looking to up their dental care should take the time to find a dentist through 1-800-DENTIST. Our operators are on duty 24/7 and will connect those in need with a great dentist quickly.

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