You might find it strange that your dentist is encouraging you to eat ice cream, but it is actually a pretty good choice if you are looking for something sweet! Whether you’re sitting on your porch alone or enjoying a cone with friends, ice cream can make summer both memorable and delicious.
Keep in mind, it is something to enjoy in moderation as it can cause cavities if you’re not careful! That’s why we’re sharing 5 important oral hygiene habits to ensure you keep your mouth healthy while embracing all that summer has to offer. (But, really, ice cream is fabulous year-round, so you can keep these tips handy for any season!)
How ice cream can damage your teeth
When you eat ice cream, you’re getting nutrients like phosphorus, vitamin D, and calcium. But you’re also getting a lot of sugar, which can break down your enamel if it stays on your teeth too long or if you eat it too frequently throughout the day. As sugar rests on your teeth, it turns into acid — causing your protective layer of enamel to demineralize. If this continues, a cavity will develop.
Follow these care tips to keep your teeth and mouth strong against bacteria and erosion.
1. Pack travel toothpaste and toothbrush.
Keep a mini toothbrush and toothpaste tucked into your purse, car, or backpack when you’re on the go. After enjoying a treat like ice cream, step into the bathroom and brush your teeth. Even one minute of brushing can help prevent demineralization and cavity development.
If you can’t carry along a toothbrush, rinse your mouth out with water after eating ice cream or other sugary treats and drinks. A quick swish can help wash the sugar off your teeth. And it’ll make your mouth feel cleaner and better, too.
2. Drink plenty of water.
Drinking 2-3.5 liters a day is recommended by health professionals. Not only does it keep you feeling your best, drinking water ensures your body is producing enough saliva. Your saliva helps you break down food and protects you against tooth decay and infection. It also goes a long way in preventing bad breath!
Carry a reusable water bottle wherever you go to stay hydrated throughout the day — especially important during the warmer summer months.
3. Maintain daily oral hygiene.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day — morning and night — and floss at least once a day (ideally at night before you go to bed).
Flossing and brushing are the two most important habits to keeping your teeth and gums healthy and strong. Daily care also ensures your teeth are clean after eating treats like ice cream. Here at Eau Claire Park Dental, we recommend a soft-bristled brush or an electric toothbrush, floss, and a waterpik to maintain the best oral hygiene.
4. Schedule and keep your regular dental appointments.
Getting your teeth professionally cleaned and evaluated twice a year helps prevent gum disease, lowers inflammation and has a positive impact on your overall health. It also enables us to catch potential problems early. A small cavity is a lot easier to fix than a big one, and has fewer potential post treatment complications.
Schedule your appointment with ECPD today — and meet one of our highly skilled and experienced dental hygienists.
5. Consider sweet alternatives.
Reducing your sugar intake limits the impact on your teeth and overall health. Opt for sugar-free ice cream or forgo the extras like chocolate or caramel sauce. You can also enjoy less sugary treats like berries (which are also a great topping!), or sorbet.
Looking to become a new patient? Fill out a quick form for a complimentary appointment where you’ll get a tour of our office and meet the team.