Did you hear that, orthodontic patients and ice cream lovers?

July is National Ice Cream Month (NICM)!

And with the blazing summer heat well underway, now is the best time for orthodontic patients to celebrate this perfectly delicious, braces-friendly treat.

To kick off National Ice Cream Month, Hoskinson Orthodontics is here to give you the scoop on NICM and how you can best take care of your teeth and oral health when you indulge!

When Is National Ice Cream Month?

In 1984, former President Ronald Reagan (who was a notorious jelly bean consumer) proclaimed July to be National Ice Cream Month in the US.

While Reagan’s own sweet tooth may have influenced his decision to designate July as National Ice Cream Month, the delectable frozen treat has long served as an American staple. (In fact, ice cream in the United States dates all the way back to the late 18th Century before the Declaration of Independence was signed!)

Is Ice Cream Good or Bad for Teeth?

Ice cream can be both good and bad for teeth depending on how often you consume it. Because it is chock full of sugar, ice cream can lead to tooth decay if consumed in excess.

However, because milk is the other central ingredient in ice cream, it can also be a good source of calcium, which can strengthen teeth and help prevent bone loss.

How Often Should You Eat Ice Cream?

Generally speaking, you should only consume around 13 grams of saturated fat per day. With a ½ cup of vanilla ice cream weighing in at 4.5 grams of saturated fat, consumers can easily exceed the recommended daily intake if they’re eating other fatty foods.

With that said, ice cream in moderation is acceptable, especially considering the benefits of calcium! Limit your intake of ice cream to one serving per week. But if you must curb your sweet tooth or ward off the summer heat with a frozen treat, opt for nonfat frozen yogurt.

Best Home Care Practices for Braces

While ice cream is among the tastiest, braces-friendly foods around, patients should still be proactive about their intake and oral hygiene after consuming the frozen treat. So, what can you do to protect your teeth with braces and still indulge in ice cream?

First, skip the add-ons, like sprinkles, candy, and nuts. The excess sugar in these ingredients increases the risk of plaque buildup between teeth and makes it more difficult to thoroughly brush and floss between and around the brackets. Hard, sticky candy add-ons and nuts can even poke, scratch, or break the brackets and wiring.

After enjoying your ice cream, brush your teeth within the preceding hour. Brushing with braces can be difficult, but by following these steps every day, twice a day, you can significantly lower your risk of developing cavities and tooth discoloration after your braces come off.

It also helps to drink water before and after you eat ice cream. If you must wait to floss, you can ‒ but make sure you floss no more than 12 hours after having ice cream. Otherwise, the sugar between your teeth can start to form into plaque.

Let’s Celebrate National Ice Cream Month!

Ice cream being the soft, safe, and delicious treat that it is makes wearing braces all the more rewarding. So long as you’re taking adequate care of your teeth and moderating your intake of ice cream, enjoy!

With it being National Ice Cream Month, Hoskinson Orthodontics wanted to take the opportunity to remind our patients to schedule routine teeth cleanings and checkups at their dentist.

If you need to make an appointment with our orthodontist and are located in Schenectady County and the surrounding areas, get in touch with us today! We’d love to hear from you ‒ and even learn what your favorite ice cream flavor is!