Summer is finally here, and for many families that means it’s amusement park and carnival season! But while these venues are known for many things (Rides! Games! Prizes!) one thing they’re not known for is their healthy dining options. So, how do you know what foods to avoid when your choices are all less than nutritious? Check out this list of what not to eat at the fair this summer!
Candy Apples / Caramel Apples While yes, apples are good for you, candied apples earn a place on the worst list because of their sweet, sticky candy coating. In addition to being a danger to braces, retainers, fillings and crowns, that tacky sugar that covers your candy apple is also a magnet for cavity-causing bacteria. Worst of all, because it’s so sticky, it will linger on your teeth long after you’ve finished your apple.
Cotton Candy This probably comes as no surprise, since cotton candy is pure sugar- but have you ever seen what happens to that sugar when it gets chewed? It goes from being a dry cottony fluff to a sticky, sugary syrup that coats your teeth.
Kettle Corn / Caramel Corn In theory, popcorn isn’t that bad for you- but when you coat it with caramel or sugar it can do a number on your teeth, especially if it’s stuck to those little bits of hull that get caught between your teeth. If you must have popcorn at the carnival, avoid the sugary varieties and stick to the buttered or salted version. If you must have sugar, kettle corn is slightly better than caramel corn for your teeth.
Snow Cones Snow cones are a refreshing treat on a hot day, but because they are basically sugar and water, they’re a disaster for your teeth, with no nutritional value, to boot. Need to cool down? Look for a fruit smoothie with real fruit or a bottle of water instead, or see if the snow cone booth offers any sugar-free syrups.
Giant fresh-squeezed lemonade It’s hard to resist those giant refillable cups of fresh squeezed lemonade at the carnival, but just because it’s fresh squeezed doesn’t mean it’s not loaded with added sugar. Between the sugar and the highly acidic nature of the lemons, these giant drinks pack quite a one-two punch for your teeth. Get the super-size or refill? That’s even more sugar and acid on your teeth. Healthier options include ice water or iced tea with a slice of lemon. If only the real thing will do, get the smallest size, and don’t nurse it all day. Drink the whole cup within 30 minutes and follow it with lots of water.
So, what are the best (or least dangerous) snacks to grab at the carnival? Look for things like roasted peanuts, grilled corn, grilled kabobs, traditional ice cream and smoothies. Just be sure to drink lots of water after eating, and if you plan to spend a day there, consider packing some floss or a toothbrush and toothpaste for between meals.
If you have any other questions or concerns about your teeth or summer oral health care, give Dr. Hill’s office a call at 469-640-9550.