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Dental Danger: Perils At The Picnic Table

Summer cookouts and good times with family and friends are highlights of summertime. Unfortunately, those good times enjoying BBQ can have bad consequences for your teeth. Here are three of the most popular BBQ staples that can cause dental damage like cavities, broken teeth, and unsightly stains.

Common Causes of Dental Damage

1. Potato Chips

There’s a reason this snack is known for its “can’t have just one” irresistibility, but no matter how delicious they are, try to limit the amount you have. The starchy, salty treat packs a double whammy. Firstly, the starches are broken down into sugar, which contributes to the bacteria that fuel plaque production.

Secondly, the sharp, jagged edges of some chips (particularly baked varieties, which are sturdier and not as crumbly) can cut and damage your gums. Not only is a split gum painful, it gives harmful bacteria an “in.”

Veggies with dip is a better, more nutritious alternative.

2. Corn on the Cob

What could go wrong with one of America’s most beloved cookout staples? A lot. Corn’s slick, outer skin is one of the easiest foods to get stuck between teeth. In fact, it happens so easily that you might not even be aware it’s there until much later. And that’s the problem: the longer any food sits between your teeth, the longer bacteria can feed on the sugars in it. And – surprise! – corn is a high sugar vegetable. The spaces between your teeth are prime cavity territory. Picking with a toothpick to dislodge stuck corn can cause damage to sensitive teeth and irritation to gums.

Grilling other vegetables like asparagus or carrots is an appetizing alternative. But if corn is your BBQ go-to, be ready to floss after indulging.

3. Barbecue Sauce

Is it even a barbeque without BBQ sauce? But here’s the problem: To get the sweet tang of barbecue sauce, sugar and vinegar are combined. As mentioned earlier, sugar contributes to bacteria-causing plaque. And vinegar comes with its own set of problems, including stains and other damage, because of its acidity.

Try to limit the amount of sauce on your food and drink plenty of water to offset the potential effects of barbecue sauce on your teeth.  

Balancing the food you enjoy with smart, mindful choices is key. After all, the more damage to your teeth, the less you’ll be able to enjoy your BBQ favorites. The Dental Plan from ASBA covers everything from routine cleaning to fillings and other procedures. Plus, you’ll have access to any dentist you want to see, with bigger savings from our roster of thousands of in-network dentists nationwide!