Now that the warmer months are officially here, you’ve probably been reaching for your favorite refreshing dessert, ice cream. Ice cream is one of the most popular desserts in the US – over 90% of American households purchase this product. While ice cream is definitely tasty, have you ever thought of its effects on your oral health? Read on to learn whether or not ice cream is bad for your teeth and what you can do to stay healthy.
The Surprising Risks of Ice Cream
You may think that because ice cream contains calcium, it can’t be that bad for your teeth. However, this item contains large amounts of sugar, which is a main risk factor of cavities and infection. In fact, the USDA says that just a half cup of vanilla ice cream contains over 14 grams of sugar. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. This amount of sugar is about 56% of what is recommended for sugar intake in a single day.
When sugars interact with bacteria in the mouth, acids are created that eat away at your enamel and gums. This is the main culprit of common dental issues like cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, and more. Remember, most ice cream has some sort of candy, treat, or other sweets mixed in, which often stick to the teeth. This allows the sugar to stay in contact with your teeth for longer periods of time, increasing your risk of decay and infection.
Are Your Teeth Sensitive?
Do you feel sensitivity when you bite into your ice cream? This could be due to decay, worn down enamel, exposed tooth roots, or even genetics. You can limit his issue by practicing good oral healthcare and using a desensitizing toothpaste.
How to Protect Your Smile
Of course, you can completely cut ice cream out of your diet, but that’s just unrealistic! Instead, take these easy yet effective steps for oral healthcare to lower your risk of dental issues:
- Timing: Try to eat ice cream with a meal and consume it in moderation. The food you eat stimulates saliva flow to help wash away sugar and bacteria.
- At-home care: Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and rinse with a nonalcoholic mouthwash. This is your first defense against sugar from ice cream and the problems it can cause.
- Drink water: consuming lots of water throughout the day is not only good for your body, but it will help stimulate your saliva flow. Plus, most tap water contains fluoride, which naturally fights cavities.
Don’t let ice cream get in the way of your healthy smile! Just remember these tips to keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Milad Rabban Dr. Rabban earned her undergraduate and her Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Detroit Mercy. She used her extensive training and experience to offer a wide range of services that keep her Clinton Township patients happy and healthy. To schedule an appointment, she can be reached through her website or by phone at (586) 416-1444.