It’s National Picnic Month – Keep Your Smile Healthy!
Don’t let overindulgence affect your teeth and gums – tips from Abbey Road Dental
If you didn’t get your fill of picnic tidbits during National picnic week in June, the good news is that the whole of July is National picnic month! So plenty of extra time to make up for any missed opportunities nibbling goodies outdoors with friends and family.
The bad news is, picnics aren’t always the best for your teeth. In fact, eating starchy snacks and sugary drinks for a while month and beyond could cause lots of issues for your oral health; issues that last well into the colder months.
To help you keep your smile healthy throughout National picnic month and all summer long, Abbey Road Dental has some handy information for you.
First Things First, A Brief History Of The Picnic
Everyone loves a picnic, including all of us here at Abbey Road Dental. But before we let you know how to keep your smile healthy whilst enjoying traditional al fresco dining, we thought you might enjoy a brief history of the picnic.
You might be surprised to know that it dates all the way back to the middle ages when taking things like bread and cheese to men out hunting was simply a way to provide them with sustenance without them having to come home between hunts. Things like a Ploughman’s Lunch, Cornish Pasty and pork pie were all invented for the same or similar reasons.
The name picnic though, is thought to originate from the idea of a meal where everybody brings something and the word itself is thought to come from french word Pique-Nique which loosely means ‘bring your own wine’.
Up until the 1800’s though it remained a practicality, until through trend, it became something quite fashionable. Everything from art, to books and poems began to feature at picnics where everybody who was anybody, wanted to eat al fresco. During the Victorian times the picnic really came into its own during summer. Hampers, picnic food and picnic blankets truly became a ‘thing’ and the trend spread across the world.
From then on in you could expect to see picnics occurring across Britain on any warm summers day and nowadays, they are a true tradition come a hot weekend, second only to the barbecue.
Can The Humble Picnic Pose A Threat To Your Smile?
Eating a sandwich and a packet of crisps on the grass every now and again will not cause you dental issues. However, regularly attending picnics and consuming traditional picnic food could cause you some dental problems. Traditional picnic food could be:
- Sausage rolls and pastry items
- Cheese and crackers
- Pots of cold salads
You may also pair your picnic with nice drinks such as cocktails or pop.
This kind of food is delicious and fun to eat, but there are many items within the list above, and on regular picnic blankets that cause issues for your teeth.
Starchy items, for example, like sausage rolls or pasties when chewed, stick inside all the nooks and crannies in and around your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth love to feast on carbohydrates, which causes them to omit a damaging acid that causes decay and damage to the teeth. Pastries and white carbohydrates are sticky and so, spend longer in and around your teeth causing damage.
Pastries and white carbs aren’t the only problematic picnic item either unfortunately. Sugary drinks, cakes and biscuits can all be incredibly bad for the teeth. The vast amounts of sugar are a feast for the natural bacteria in your mouth, just like white pastries and bread are. The main difference is that these items (especially fizzy drinks) are also high in acid so they are doubly damaging for the teeth.
Even worse is that picnics are not the same as a sit down meal in that food and drink is consumed over a few hours at a time. Because of this, the saliva doesn’t have time to rinse away the debris and neutralise the acids and bacteria in the mouth. The teeth are exposed to ‘attack’ for hours.
Every now and again, combined with excellent oral hygiene, a picnic is unlikely to cause problems. However, if over summer you are attending more than one picnic a week, and perhaps extending picnic habits more often, then you could find your teeth are affected. Over time, regular picnics could cause damage and enamel wear and cavities could occur.
How To Avoid Dental Issues Caused By Summer Picnic Eating Habits
To avoid dental issues caused by summer picnic eating habits, the first line of defence is ensuring your oral hygiene habits are consistent. Brushing well, twice a day for two minutes with the right brush and toothbrush will help to remove bacteria and debris that lead to plaque and tartar. It is also a good idea to think carefully about your eating habits when you attend picnics. Try to balance any pastries or sandwiches, cakes and biscuits with healthier options like salads and fruit.
Try to drink lots of water alongside what you eat, avoiding sugary drinks as much as possible. If you can, do try not to graze and instead limit your eating time to one sit-down session, spending the rest of your time socialising and enjoying time with friends and family. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals will also help stimulate saliva which will neutralise any harmful imbalances in your mouth, and also help to rinse away as much debris as possible.
It is important to attend regular appointments with Abbey Road Dental in St John’s Wood so that any issues with your oral health can be identified and treated quickly. If your food consumption habits or lifestyle choices are causing issues with your teeth, it is important to get a quick diagnosis for the least-invasive, quick and affordable treatment. It will also help us provide you with the right advice to maintain your oral health moving forward.
Please call us on 02076241603 to book an appointment at a time convenient to you. We’re here to help you maintain a beautiful smile this summer, and all year round!