July 4th Sparklers: Five Ways to Keep Your Teeth Bright This BBQ Season

Jul 2, 2015 1:00:00 PM Cheryl Fenton Food & Drink

Summer is in full swing and that can only mean one thing – it’s time to fly that American flag with pride and hit all those festive July 4 cookouts. The calendar reads nothing but fun, fireworks, barbecues, and mom’s apple pie.

Although this all-American holiday is a summer highlight, it can leave your pearly whites not-so pearly. Backyard barbecues are basically a war zone of teeth-staining foods: plates of ribs drenched in sticky barbecue sauce, ketchup dripping from hotdogs, and blueberry pies oozing tasty juices from flaky crusts.

You shouldn’t have to pass on these tasty treats, so here are a few tricks to helping your teeth hold on to their sparkler status.

Reach for sweet strawberries. Blueberries, grapes, and cherries - these healthy snacks are all over the picnic tables at most cookouts. It’s those intense reds and blues that make your teeth anything but white. Instead opt for strawberries. Despite their bright red color, these berries don’t stain teeth and actually been known to help whiten them instead of hinder like their colorful cousins. Their malic acid content is a natural astringent that actually helps remove superficial staining. Bring a strawberry salad to the party by mixing sliced strawberries, field greens, sliced cucumbers, a splash of red wine vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

Hit the dip tray. Not only do you get more vitamins and minerals when they’re uncooked, but munching on raw vegetables like broccoli, carrots and celery can help scrub off dental stains. The crisp, crunchy textures help strengthen gums and dislodge food debris, so dig into the dip tray with a hearty appetite.

Use a straw. If you’re going to indulge in a glass of refreshing sangria or sweetened sun tea, drink through a straw. This limits the amount of time these staining liquids splash around on your teeth.

Take a sip of water. With only 30 seconds on the clock before dark pigments from food penetrate your tooth enamel, time is of the essence every time you nosh on tasty BBQ. Carry around a glass of water and take a sip after every few bites. It’ll rinse away the culprits. Bonus: it’ll keep you hydrated in the hot sun.

Brush away the BBQ. Right after the cookout, come clean with a brush of whitening toothpaste. Since barbecue sauce is sticky, an extra long amount of toothbrush time should be the goal. Made in America and busting with U.S. pride (check out its red, white and blue packaging), Luster NOW! Instant Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste safely and effectively brushes away all those dark foods that can stain your teeth. It also adds an extra boost of brightening power to fight off the next round of cookout food fun.

No one should have to go without their favorite barbecue foods during these summertime festivities. So go ahead. Slather that hotdog with ketchup. We’ve got you covered.

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