Do you love shopping at your local farmers market? You’re not alone. They’re so popular that there are now more than 8,700 farmers markets nationwide. While it should be easy for you to find one near you, it’s not always as easy to decide what to buy.
Let’s take a tour of some popular farmers market choices that are good for your oral health.
It’s no surprise that fruits and veggies dominate the list of recommended foods. Not only do they have high nutritional value, but many also have high water content, which helps wash away bacteria from your teeth. Reach for crunchy apples, pears, carrots, cucumbers, celery and broccoli that are effective teeth cleaners. For an instant treat, grab tasty fruit on a stick. Try to avoid highly acidic fruits—including oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits—that can damage tooth enamel.
Stock up on dark, leafy greens, like spinach, kale and more. They’re full of vitamins, minerals and calcium, which are important for strong, healthy teeth and tissues. They also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits, including possibly keeping gums healthy in pregnant women.
With all the delicious ready-to-eat foods at most farmers markets, there are plenty of treats to tempt you. Choose nuts instead of sugary and starchy snacks. Pick wisely by watching out for nuts roasted with sugar, though!
Most nuts are full of protein and some, like peanuts, contain vitamin D and calcium, which are good for your smile. Their crunch also stimulates saliva to help clean your teeth.
Cheese and yogurt are especially delicious when they are fresh from the farm. In addition to their great taste, dairy products strengthen your teeth with high doses of calcium. Cheese also raises the pH (lowers the acid) in your mouth and reduces your risk of tooth decay, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of General Dentistry.
It’s always a good idea to stay hydrated during the summer and the farmers market is no exception. Pass by the sugary sweet and acidic carbonated beverages and have a bottle of water handy to quench your thirst. Water will keep your mouth clean between bites, which is especially important if you splurge on a sweet treat!
Milk and fortified soy drinks provide the same teeth-building benefits as other dairy products.
But if you go for a smoothie, choose wisely. Smoothies can pack a lot of nutrients into one drink—but some may also be loaded with added sugar and highly acidic fruits.