Why you might think twice before eating too much ice cream

Why you might think twice before eating too much ice cream 

There are few treats more tempting than a cold dish of ice cream during the hottest days of summer. It’s no wonder 90% of American households indulge in this frosty dessert.1 In honor of National Ice Cream Month in July, here’s the scoop on how ice cream can have an effect on oral health.

Ice cream contains calcium.2

Let’s start with the good news. Ice cream has calcium, along with other nutrients. And calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong teeth.

But it’s often full of sugar.

The USDA reports that a half cup of vanilla ice cream contains a little more than 14 grams of sugar. That’s about 56% of the recommended maximum amount of sugar adults should consume in a day.3,4 Consuming food that contains sugar produces acids that can eat away at your teeth’s surface and cause cavities.5

Sweet toppings and mix-ins add even more sugar to ice cream. Many of these add-ons, such as syrup, caramel and candy bars, stick to your teeth and cause even more damage.

It can also make your teeth hurt.

If your teeth are sensitive to cold, eating ice cream can be uncomfortable. There are a number of possible reasons for cold sensitivity, including tooth decay, worn tooth enamel or exposed nerves due to receding gums.6

Good oral hygiene can help prevent sensitive tooth pain. But, if you already have sensitive teeth, talk to your dentist, who may recommend a desensitizing toothpaste or fluoride gel.7 If you eat ice cream with cold-sensitive teeth, lick it rather than biting into it.

You can limit the negative effects.

To keep ice cream from damaging your smile:

  • Enjoy it in moderation and eat it with a meal.8,9
  • Look for low-sugar or sugar-free versions, or substitute with a lower sugar gelato, frozen yogurt or sorbet.10
  • Help remove sugars from your mouth by rinsing with water or chewing sugar-free gum after eating ice cream.



1 https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/scoop-it-up-for-july-ice-cream-month-90-percent-of-americans-eat-ice-cream-regularly-161419125.html

2 https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/is-ice-cream-bad-for-you/

3 https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/19095?

4 https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/usda-recommended-sugar-intake-8628.html

5 https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/childrens-oral-health/tooth-decay-process?_ga=2.65653799.802022034.1553626170-708668092.1553626170

6 https://crest.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/teeth-sensitivity/teeth-sensitive-cold-causes-home-remedies

7 https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(14)64995-3/fulltext

8 https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/is-ice-cream-bad-for-you/

9 https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/for_the_dental_patient_dec_2010.pdf?la=en

10 https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/frozen-yogurt-gelato-or-low-fat-ice-cream-which-is-the-healthiest/

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