March 2, 2021
Ice cream is a favorite treat throughout the year. Even in winter, many enjoy peppermint or candy cane ice cream. It’s clear that sweets aren’t smile-friendly, but is it possible that this treat can cause more dental damage than you think? Keep reading to learn the effects of ice cream on your teeth and what you can do to protect your grin.
Damage it Can Cause
Tooth decay is so common that about 90 percent of people have had at least one cavity in their lives. Typically, ice cream is full of sugar. If you add chocolate, caramel or other toppings, that just increases your risk of dental issues. Sugar feeds the bacteria on your teeth, allowing them to create cavity-causing bacteria that wears away at your enamel and causes tooth decay. Another risk is the development or worsening of gum disease. If you already have gingivitis or frequently experience oral infections, ice cream can make things even worse. The sugar in ice cream binds to gums and triggers the release of eroding acids.
How to Protect Your Teeth
You don’t have to fully give up ice cream if you want to prevent dental problems, you just have to make sure you are taking proper care of your oral health. While it occurs often, it is much easier to prevent decay than it is to treat it. Brushing your teeth 30 minutes after eating ice cream or other sugar-filled treats will help protect your teeth from damage. It is worth noting that waiting 30 minutes before brushing is key because any time you eat or drink something sugary, the bacteria in your mouth start producing acids to break it down. These acids weaken your enamel and make your teeth vulnerable; even your toothbrush could cause damage!
Another way you can minimize damage caused by ice cream is to limit your toppings. Gummy bears, sprinkles, caramel, chocolate and whipped cream might make your dessert even more luxurious, but they also add to your exposure to sugar. If you absolutely need to pile on your toppings, pick low-sugar options. You could also swap out your ice cream for a healthier treat like frozen low-sugar yogurt topped with fresh or frozen fruit.
Following these steps will help keep your smile protected, no matter how often you slip a treat past your lips. The one good ingredient that ice cream contains calcium, which can help strengthen both your teeth and your bones. However, the harm that it causes definitely outweighs this one positive.
About the Author
Dr. Mark Stapleton and his team of dental professionals at White Oak Dental are committed to helping patients of all ages achieve their best and healthiest smiles. Everyone who enters their doors receives personalized dental care in a comfortable environment. Dr. Stapleton achieved his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2005 and completed an intensive residency program in general dentistry at the University of Florida. If ice cream has been wreaking havoc on your oral health, contact the office at or visit the website to schedule an exam and cleaning today!
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