Ice is Nice!

Summer is here! We have just passed the summer solstice and Oklahoma has been sizzling with triple digits for some weeks already. What could be more refreshing than an ice cold drink, or a smoothie? While we all agree hot temperatures call for cool refreshments, here are some tips that will help keep your teeth healthy while enjoying those frozen treats.

Treat it as a sweet snack
Unless you have nothing but ice water – and, by the way, water at room temperature will quench your thirst much faster – all ice cold treats contain sugar. Soda, ice cream, even the beloved frappuchino have large amounts of sugar and need to be treated as sugary snack: Brush or flush (with water) when you are done.

Don’t break the ice
No, we are not talking about the children’s game. When you have reached the bottom of the soda jug, we recommend you not bite the remaining ice cubes to pieces. Doing so can endanger both your gums and the enamel of your teeth, by having to exert extra pressure and leaving pointy pieces. This is especially true when you are wearing braces. Ice is solid and can damage or deform the wires and turnĀ  your treat into an painful and costly return trip to your dentist.

Indulge with restraint
Remember not to pour ice cold water on a hot pan, or it will bend in all manner of ways? The same holds true to a degree with your teeth’s enamel. Rapid temperature changes, as in drinking ice cold soda or eating ice cream, cause the enamel to constrict, and then expand again as your mouth returns to its normal body temperature. Indulging in frozen treats too often can cause strain on the protective enamel coat and cause mini fissures over time that will let bacteria in more easily, just like cracks in a wall.

Careful with kids
It should go without saying we don’t give babies or toddlers ice cubes to suck on, to avoid any possible choking hazard. However, good old fashioned freeze pops on a stick need watching, too: in the end large chunks often break loose and could potentially cause the same effect. Never leave your smaller child unsupervised with Popsicle sticks.

Happy summer from Purcell family dentist!

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