July is National Ice Cream Month and there are some great options, both from national chains and local favorites, in and around Sarasota. Just remember, if you plan on enjoying an icy treat this month, be sure to take steps to protect your teeth from the harm that can follow.
Dairy products can be good for your teeth. Research has shown that caseins, found in dairy products, help to protect the teeth from decay while minerals such as calcium and phosphorous help to strengthen enamel. Ice cream has the minerals and caseins found in all dairy products, but it also has sugar, a lot of sugar, and this plays a direct role in how the product impacts oral health.
Sugar encourages the rapid formation of plaque bacteria. These bacteria feed on sugars, producing an acidic byproduct that can quickly begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Plaque holds these acids fast to the surface of the teeth and, within 48 hours, can harden into tartar, which is next to impossible to remove at home. Tartar increases the risks for tooth decay, infection, and gum disease.
The Good News
You can still enjoy ice cream and a healthy smile if you take proper care of your teeth before and after. However, because ice cream can be acidic, it is best to wait for 30 minutes after eating it to brush and floss. During this time, drink plenty of water to help rinse some of the sugar off of your teeth. Drinking water throughout the day can assist in keeping teeth clean, even if you don’t eat ice cream.
Thirty minutes after eating ice cream, it’s time to brush. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to protect and strengthen your teeth and, if you have restorations, be sure to avoid abrasive ingredients such as baking soda. Abrasive ingredients can help to remove surface stains, but they can also scratch and damage veneers and crowns.
Taking care of your teeth after eating ice cream helps you to enjoy this summertime treat without compromising your oral health. However, if you experience tooth pain, increasing sensitivity, or similar discomforts while eating ice cream, it’s a good idea to schedule an examination to determine if a restorative or protective treatment may help.
To schedule your next visit to The Smile Centre, please call 941-351-4468 today. We are located in Sarasota. We serve all nearby areas of Florida.