Summer Smiles

It’s summer, and in our Texas heat, some of the best ways to cool down are with frozen treats. Summertime is known as the season of fruit, popsicles, candy, ice cream, soda, and many other fun foods that can actually seriously harm your child’s teeth. While it’s easy to forget about oral health, especially on vacation, you really should be thinking about the long term effects of that extra popsicle.

When you eat a popsicle, freeze pop, or similar treat, your teeth are in constant contact with sugars. These sugars latch onto teeth and gums and breed bacteria that begin to eat away at the enamel of your teeth. If the bacteria is not properly removed quickly, you may see cavities develop very quickly. A single cup of plain vanilla ice cream has the equivalent of over five teaspoons of sugar in it. It’s tempting to just say that we’ll tell our kids to lick, not bite — but if you’ve ever met a kid, you know they’re not going to listen to that. An alternative to popsicles and other frozen treats is frozen fruit — grapes are really good right out of the freezer!

As the weather heats up, more and more people, children and adult alike, reach for a sports drink or pop instead of water to quench their thirst. When this is done more than once throughout the day, teeth become constantly subjected to sugar without a break. Again, this means that, without being properly removed, sugar bred bacteria can wreak havoc on teeth and gums. Sodas are especially destructive as the carbonation can also play a hand in eroding tooth enamel when consumed throughout the day. To put into perspective how much sugar your teeth are subjected to each time you reach for a soda or sports drink over water, consider that in one regular sized can of pop is the equivalent of ten teaspoons of sugar. Both soda and sports drinks will actually make you thirstier as well, which means you’ll keep reaching for it. Instead, drink water.

It’s okay to have fun over the summer and eat a few things you wouldn’t normally. Everyone has to splurge occasionally! The problem is when the splurge becomes daily — your children can swim off the extra weight that might come from ice cream, but there’s nothing to be done about their teeth until they get in the dentist’s chair.