Ice Cream, Frozen Treats and Your Teeth and Gums
Ice cream is the classic American summer dessert. When it gets hot outside everyone seems to turn to ice cream to cool down and fill up, but the increase in delicious frozen desserts can have some serious consequences for your waist as well as for your teeth and gums. Ice cream, and other frozen treats bring up three important components that are related to maintaining healthy teeth and gums to varying degrees. Stewart C. Brody DDS wants to highlight three concerns about eating too much ice cream this summer and they include: high levels of sugar and tooth decay, teeth sensitivity issues, and why you shouldn’t rely on ice cream to be a primary source of calcium.
It should go without saying that concentrated amounts of sugar are not good for you or your teeth. The reason sugar is so bad for your smile is because the bacteria (plaque) in your mouth feed off of sugar. Acid is released by plaque as a byproduct which decays your teeth and enamel; this is what actually causes cavities and gum disease (A great article is written about it in the December 2010 edition of the ADA: Science and Research Journal). The best ways to remove plaque is by brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice daily, and flossing regularly. Don’t let your fun-in-the-sun let you neglect proper dental care.
Now I know kids out there are all thinking: milk has calcium, therefore ice cream is made from milk, which means ice cream is good for me! Sorry kids but this is not the case. While it’s true that ice cream does have some calcium, it is minimal compared to more nutritious dairy products such as milk and yogurt. Additionally, the dangers of ingesting the high concentrations of sugar that are present in ice cream negate any potential benefit that may have come from eating ice cream. Calcium is the primary component of bones and teeth and it has a huge impact on your body’s vital functioning, so be sure to get enough of it from other more nutritious sources.
A final consideration that comes with eating tasty summer treats is that it is very common for people to have “sensitive teeth”. Sensitive teeth may be a result of cavities, fractured teeth, worn enamel or complications from receding gums such as exposed dental nerves. Sensitive teeth are commonly a result of poor dental hygiene, but the good thing about sensitive teeth is that it is possible to treat sensitive teeth without any further damage.
If you love ice cream or are experiencing any of the issues related to eating too much of it, it is imperative that you see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent any permanent damage to your teeth and gums.