Summer is approaching and temperatures are warming up! A great way to avoid the heat is by enjoying an ice-cold snack. While these snacks may be refreshing, not all summer snacks are the best for your oral health.
Dr. Christopher Banks in Chevy Chase, MD wants patients to know that some of those popular summertime ice-cold snacks can also affect oral health, increasing the risk of tooth decay. A favorite cold snack is ice cream, which is full of sugar. Dr. Banks has tips and tricks for buying and eating ice cream so you can still enjoy this delicious snack while not putting your oral health at risk.
Consuming too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. A cavity arises due to the destruction of the outer surface, or enamel, of the tooth. Tooth decay is very common; in fact, 90% of people have at least one cavity. Although tooth decay occurs often and is treatable, it is much easier to prevent tooth decay than to treat it.
Dr. Banks first tip to avoid tooth decay is to brush your teeth whenever possible after consuming ice cream or other sugary treats. This helps get some of the sugar from the ice cream off the enamel of the teeth. If you are unable to brush your teeth, rinsing with mouthwash or simply water will still help wash away some of the sugars remaining on surfaces of the teeth and gums.
Another tip to prevent cavities is to avoid adding extra sugar to ice cream. Dr. Banks recommends eating ice cream without the extras, which includes caramel or chocolate sauce. Since ice cream is already full of sugar, adding even more sugar increases the chance of tooth decay.
Although ice cream is full of sugar, this summer snack is a good source of calcium. Having a diet supplemented with calcium keeps teeth healthy, prevents bone loss and strengthens teeth. Limiting ice cream consumption is important for overall oral health, however it does not need to be avoided completely. Dr. Banks also recommends buying ice cream that is either sugar-free or low in sugar.
Even with prevention, tooth decay can occur. Dr. Banks places dental fillings to repair tooth decay and prevent further deterioration.
Remember to also maintain good at home oral health! This includes brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and rinsing with mouthwash to prevent tooth decay.
Visit our Chevy Chase, MD dentist office twice a year for routine care– professional cleanings and exams that will keep your smile looking its best for the long run.