Are you ready for some Football? Party Snacks Your Teeth Will Love and Hate

Are you ready for some Football?  An NFL watching party demands super snacks but not at the expense of your teeth.  Lost in the tradition of overeating and complaining about the referees is oral health. In fact, oral health is most likely the last thing on the minds of those watching Football on Sunday. That’s why we’ve put together a few tasty game day snacking ideas with healthy ingredients and also list snacks that are not so great for your teeth.  Of course, these are snacks, and none of them are perfect.  Regardless of what you eat, don’t forget to brush!

Football Snacks Your Teeth Will Love

  • Spicy Jalapeño Dip + Vegetables like Carrots and Celery: This dip with a kick will make your veggies disappear.  Raw veggies require lots of chewing which stimulates and promotes healthy gums.  Carrots contain beta-carotene that your body uses to create vitamin A which works to build strong teeth.  The sour cream in this dip gives your teeth a boost of Calcium which also helps to keep your teeth strong.
  • Hummus with Cucumber: Protein rich chickpeas don’t contain any saturated fat or cholesterol, making hummus a good choice for your overall health.  Chickpeas are also rich in folic acid, which keeps your mouth healthy by promoting cell growth throughout your body.  As to the cucumbers, not only are they a healthy alternative to chips, but they are rich in vitamins B and C and have even been shown to help freshen breath and naturally whiten teeth!
  • The Party Standard: The Meat & Cheese Tray: The cheese on the sidelines plays quarterback in this party tray.  Cheese is a tooth powerhouse with tons of tooth strengthening calcium and a protein called casein which is amazingly effective in protecting the surface of your teeth. One note about the crackers, however.  We chose whole wheat crackers for their beneficial fiber, but all crackers can stick to teeth and promote bacteria growth.  Again, just be sure to brush after the game!
  • Healthy 7-Layer Dip: This dish has it all and it’s a great update of what is usually a calorie dense snack.  While tomato and citrus juices can be tough on your teeth because of their high acidity, the cheese and Greek yogurt help to balance that out.  Plus, this dish is high in vitamins E, A and C, which are all essential for a healthy mouth.  Choosing celery or another vegetable over chips would make this an even better choice for your teeth.
  • Baked (Goat) Cheese Roll: If cheese made from cow’s milk is a powerhouse, goat cheese is a touchdown.  It contains more protein and calcium than cow’s milk cheese and yet has less fat and calories per serving.  The higher calcium of goat cheese means even more protection for your teeth.

These Classics are Terrible for your Teeth

  • Chips and Other Starches: Chips, crackers, and bread are mainstays typically used for dipping. Unfortunately, starches like chips are terrible for teeth and contribute to tooth decay by wearing down enamel. This occurs when starch metabolizes into sugar, which is a breeding ground for bacteria that eats away at tooth enamel. If you’re looking for a mouth-healthy dipper, try substituting celery or carrots in place of starches.
  • Hot wings: A true classic, hot wings seem like the perfect finger food for game day, however, they can be very damaging to your teeth. Spicy hot wings are particularly bad for teeth because of how acidic they are. The average spicy hot wing is made from buffalo sauce which contains a PH level of 2.8 – which is nearly as acidic as a lemon! Exposed acid attacks on teeth can decimate enamel and leave them vulnerable to tooth decay. If you must have hot wings on football Sunday, we suggest choosing a flavor that isn’t spicy.
  • Soda: Soda and other carbonated beverages are loaded with sugar and other additives that can slowly destroy teeth. Sodas are awful for teeth because they are high in two of the worst things for teeth: sugar and acid. There are some sodas that contain more than the total recommended amount of daily sugar in one 20 oz. bottle! The high sugar and acid content can eat away the enamel that protects your teeth, and can lead to cavities. Instead of grabbing a soda, we suggest sticking to water during the game.
  • The Fruit Tray: This may sound counterintuitive, since the fruit tray is often perceived as the most healthy thing at a football party, but some fruit can seriously damage teeth. Fruits such as oranges, grapes and pineapple all have elevated levels of acid that can damage teeth. If you decide to eat fruit during the big game, we suggest rinsing your mouth out with water to avoid prolonged exposure to acid.

Enjoy Football, and Eat Responsibly

It’s easy to overindulge during the game. This year, try to avoid foods that can harm your mouth. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the game. It’s the primary component of saliva, which protects the teeth against “acid attacks” caused by bacteria, and it’s indispensable as the final rinsing agent for foods and sugary drinks. It’s also a good way to pace yourself if you’re drinking alcoholic beverages during the game. Remember, regardless of what you choose to snack on during the game, be sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each time!