If dental health is a concern, then choose some mouth-friendly munchies.
Cheese is great for game day and your teeth
Cheese plates are practically mandatory at get-togethers. You’ll be happy to know that cheese is a mouth-friendly food. Colgate’s Oral Care Center website states that eating cheese lowers your risk of tooth decay. Cheese also has calcium and protein, which, along with phosphate, helps to strengthen tooth enamel. In addition, cheese helps to neutralize the acids from sugary foods that erode enamel. However, cheese has a substantial amount of fat content, so avoid overdoing your intake.
Add some lean meats, whole-grain crackers, and apple slices to your cheese tray, and you’ll have healthy snacks that everyone will enjoy.
Nuts for mouth health
Nuts have plenty of protein and calcium. While all types of nuts promote mouth health, the best kinds are almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews. Be wary of the harder nuts, however, as they can chip teeth occasionally. Almonds and cheese go together like baseball and hot dogs — by the way, avoid the hot dogs — so add some almonds to your snack platter. Eating nuts still in the shell will help you keep track of your intake as you watch the growing pile of shells next to your glass of water or sugarless tea.
Raw vegetables and fruit
The many healthy properties of vegetables are well-known, especially the raw leafy variety. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and calcium, while remaining a low-calorie choice. Avoid making the mistake of serving healthy snacks, such as carrots and celery, and then dipping them in high-fat salad dressing. Instead, try some of the mouth-watering dip ideas in the next section.
Fresh fruit is a popular snack alternative and will nicely complement your game-day munching spread, but WebMD offers some advice: “Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and lemons should be eaten as part of a larger meal to minimize the acid from them.” Fruits such as cantaloupe and pears are not acidic, but they are delicious with low-fat cottage cheese.
Dips and dressing
Having dip for those vegetables is as important as good clock management with a minute left in the game. The American Dental Association’s (ADA) Mouth Healthy website has some delicious recipes for homemade dip. Remember to stick with whole-grain crackers, baked tortilla chips, and raw vegetables for your dipping needs.
For an alternative to traditional dips, try nonfat Greek yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese. Hummus is also a good choice, and it makes a first-rate topping for sandwiches. Choosing raw vegetables makes these recipes even healthier; test out some radishes, asparagus, and bell peppers along with the usual selections.
Game day wouldn’t be the same without sandwiches. Mouth health is no reason to forego these staples of snacking either. Follow a few simple guidelines to keep them friendly to your teeth. Use whole-grain bread with lean meats such as chicken or turkey. Cheese is OK, of course, but use mustard instead of mayonnaise. Raw onions, lettuce, and tomatoes make excellent sandwich toppings; however, tomatoes are acidic, so remember to follow them with some cheese or another acid fighter.
Tuna and salmon are tasty choices for healthy sandwiches. If you decide to make tuna salad, pay attention to the ingredients you add. Skip the mayonnaise in favor of low-fat Greek yogurt.
Think sugarless. Water is always the best option, but if you want more choices, go with unsweetened black or green tea. If you must have soda, try natural root beer. All-natural, real fruit juices, such as the kind you make yourself, are good options, too. Go with fruits that have low acidity levels, such as apples. Alcohol is acidic and dries out your mouth, so avoid beer and wine. However, if you do imbibe, use moderation to limit the dehydrating effect. Saliva’s importance to your mouth health cannot be overstated; a dry mouth leads to tooth decay and bad breath.
Regardless of what you eat on game day, remember to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly. Dental care is expensive, so find a good dental insurance plan and stop putting off those important visits to the dentist.