A cavity-free guide

6 tips for your summer BBQ

This summer, kick back at a barbecue with your friends and family. But keep these tips in mind to protect your teeth.

1. Skip the BBQ sauce

BBQ sauce are typically high in sugar. That's bad news for your teeth. But skipping sugar doesn't have to mean sacrificing flavor. Consider using a sugar-free dry rub to season your meat dishes. For a quick mix, combine salt, black pepper, paprika and garlic.

2. Rethink your sides

When loading up your plate, go for sides low in sugar and carbs. Roasted veggies make a delicious alternative to carb-rich pasta salad. Or, try out a new salad recipe.

3. Keep floss (not toothpicks) handy

When the remnants of your steak or corn on the cob end up in your teeth, don't reach for a toothpick. Floss is gentler on your gums and better at getting rid of those annoying bits of food.

4. Skip the ice

Chewing on ice cubes can cause cracked teeth and damaged enamel. To get the same refreshing effect without a potential dental emergency, just chill your drinks in the fridge or cooler.

5. Cut back on alcohol

High in sugar and with a tendency to dry out the mouth, alcohol is a quick route to tooth decay. Mix things up by alternating glasses of water with your adult beverages. This trick can lower your chance of cavities — and of waking up the next morning with a headache.

6. Stay cool with fruitsicles

With no added sugar, these frozen fruit pops are a sweet way to cool down. And they're easy to make. To prepare them, cut up an assortment of fruits into small pieces. Fill paper cups (or a popsicle mold) with fruit (such as kiwi, watermelon and strawberries), place a craft stick in the middle, and then pour with diluted fruit juice. Freeze overnight for a delicious dessert the next day.