People love ice cream. There are so many flavors to choose from, and it can make the most serious adult feel like a kid again. It’s delicious and refreshing, especially on a hot summer day.
More than 90 percent of American households are ice cream enthusiasts. But is ice cream bad for your teeth? It’s clearly a great treat, but are there consequences beyond the fat content you are well aware of?
Keep reading to see if ice cream poses any concerns to your oral health.
The problem with ice cream is the large amount of sugar that helps it taste so great can cause dental trouble like tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. High-sugar foods create acids that can break down your tooth enamel.
If your teeth are sensitive to cold, you are probably well-aware of the discomfort ice cream can deliver. Keep in mind that sensitivity could be a result of tooth decay, worn enamel, or receding gums, so be sure to mention it to your dentist.
Preventing tooth decay caused by ice cream or other sugary foods is not difficult if you are consistent about brushing your teeth about 30 minutes after consuming them. Some of the bacteria in your mouth will produce acid when they encounter and digest sugar. The acid removes minerals from your tooth enamel and makes it vulnerable, so it’s best to wait for brushing.
Even if you don’t have a toothbrush handy, rinsing with water or mouthwash is much better than taking no action to remove the sugars still on your teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum after ice cream is also a smart move.
Also, try to limit the toppings on your ice cream. Items like caramel or gummy bears make it much more problematic. If you must have toppings, try to avoid chewy or gummy additions.
Ice cream isn’t all bad news for your health. It can be a source of calcium, which strengthens your teeth and bones. Don’t eat it every day, but a reasonable amount (1-2 scoops) on occasion is okay when you get that craving.
You might see if there are low-sugar or sugar-free varieties of ice cream that you find tasty. Frozen yogurt or sorbet are also excellent alternatives.
So, the final answer is ice cream is fine to enjoy from time to time if you are diligent about brushing a half-hour afterwards. By practicing moderation and consistent oral hygiene, you can enjoy your next ice cream cone without worrying about your smile.