It’s summer time and with hotter temperature come all the delicious frozen foods and drinks summer dreams are made of. As with all good things, moderation is the key. Because frozen treats and drinks can have both positive and negative effects on your teeth, depending on various factors.
In many cases it’s not the cold but the sugar that is wrecking havoc on our teeth. Many frozen treats and drinks, such as ice cream, popsicles, and frozen beverages, can be high in sugar. Excessive sugar consumption is associated with an increased risk of tooth decay and cavities. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and produce acids that can erode tooth enamel, leading to dental issues. It’s important to moderate your intake of sugary frozen treats and practice good oral hygiene.
Some of the best frozen treats and drinks, like citrus-flavored ice pops or slushies, can be acidic due to the inclusion of citrus fruits or other acidic ingredients. Acidic foods and beverages can erode tooth enamel over time, making teeth more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. If you consume acidic frozen treats, it’s best to rinse your mouth with water afterward to help neutralize the acid.
Many frozen treats and drinks can provide limited nutritional value, as they are often high in sugar, fat, and calories. Poor nutrition can impact overall oral health. It’s essential to maintain a balanced diet with a variety of nutrient-rich foods to support healthy teeth and gums.
To minimize the potential negative effects on your teeth, consider the following tips:
- Enjoy frozen treats and drinks in moderation.
- Opt for sugar-free or reduced-sugar varieties.
- Drink water or rinse your mouth with water after consuming sugary or acidic frozen treats.
- Practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly.
Ice Cubes: Is chewing ice bad for my teeth?
Yes, chewing ice cubes can be bad for your teeth. Although it may seem harmless, the habit of chewing ice can lead to several dental problems. Here’s why:
Tooth enamel damage:
Ice is a hard substance, and chewing it puts your teeth at risk of enamel damage. Enamel is the protective outer layer of your teeth, and once it is worn down, it cannot be regenerated. Damaged enamel increases tooth sensitivity and makes your teeth more prone to cavities and tooth decay.
Cracked or chipped teeth:
Chewing on hard ice cubes can exert excessive force on your teeth, which can lead to cracks or chips in the enamel. This can be painful and may require dental treatment to restore the tooth. In some cases, chewing ice can cause dental emergencies, such as a fractured tooth or a dislodged filling. These situations may require immediate dental attention.
Jaw muscle strain:
Chewing ice can put strain on your jaw muscles, especially if you do it frequently or for long periods. This can contribute to jaw pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
To protect your dental health, it’s best to avoid chewing ice cubes altogether. If you have a habit of chewing ice, consider speaking with a dentist to address any underlying issues or explore healthier alternatives.
Then there is the whole thing with tooth sensitivity and frozen summer treats.
Why do my teeth hurt when I eat or drink something cold?
Sensitivity to cold is a common dental issue, but one that should not be ignored. There are several possible reasons why you may be experiencing this discomfort:
Tooth enamel erosion:
The outer layer of your teeth is called enamel, which protects the underlying dentin and nerves. If your enamel is worn down or eroded, it can expose the dentin, which is more sensitive to temperature changes.
Cavities or tooth decay can also cause sensitivity. When the protective enamel is compromised, cold substances can reach the nerves and trigger pain or discomfort.
If your gums recede, the root surface of your teeth may become exposed. This area is not covered by enamel and is more sensitive to cold temperatures.
Cracked or fractured teeth:
Cracks or fractures in your teeth can allow cold substances to penetrate and irritate the nerves, resulting in pain.
Recent dental work:
After certain dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, or teeth whitening, you may experience temporary tooth sensitivity, which should subside over time.
Frequent teeth grinding or clenching, often done unconsciously during sleep, can cause enamel wear and tooth sensitivity.
If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, you should call Dr. Wheatley. He can examine your teeth, identify the underlying cause of your discomfort, and recommend appropriate treatment options. In the meantime, you may find relief by using toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth, avoiding extremely hot or cold foods, and practicing good oral hygiene.
Summer Time = Check-up Time
Take advantage of the slightly slower pace during the summer and schedule your dental cleanings, check-ups or treatments that you have been putting off all year. Of course, we are here at our Norman location for your frozen-treat related or unrelated emergencies all summer. Call us at 405-857-6453 if you need us.