Summer Foods That Can Be Bad For Your Teeth

Summer is a popular season for Houstonians and family outings—day trips to the coast, cookouts at Lake Houston, searching for a dentist in Houston to fill a cavity. Wait, what?

How Bout A Nice Trip To A Dentist In Houston Instead?

Yes, while summer is one of our favorite seasons as well, it is a time when people indulge in a lot of seasonal foods and sweet treats. Of course, any food in moderation is acceptable and we aren’t ones to take the fun out of your summer—but we must stress that there are some foods that can interrupt your summer fun with a trip to a dentist in Houston, rather than a beachfront cabana in Galveston.

Whether it’s foods that can chip a tooth, erode the enamel, or simply cause cavities—it’s important that you take inventory of what you are eating, how to properly care for your teeth when consuming these foods, and how to prevent them from doing damage.

Being the best dentist in Houston, Dr. Hanna has seen many patients whose teeth have been damaged or severely stained by seasonal summer foods. Some of the foods on this list may surprise you and so will their effects on your teeth. The key is knowing about the potential damage these foods can cause so that you can enjoy them with caution and still maintain a nice set of healthy, white teeth.

Corn On The Cob

Who doesn’t like corn on the cob at a summer cookout? Nothing goes better with Texas brisket than corn on the cob roasted on the grill. Now, corn in its loose form isn’t necessarily bad for you eating corn off the cob can pose some potential risks. Persons with weak teeth, fillings or sensitive gums can do damage to their teeth orgums when eating it this way due to the amount of pressure it exerts on the teeth to separate it from the cob. Some people can bite down too hard and too deep into the cob and cause damage. Also, it causes more food particles to get lodged in between teeth which can cause issues if you don’t floss soon after.

Iced Coffee

It’s common advice you’ve heard from every dentist in Houston— coffee stains your teeth. It’s no different with iced coffee except there is an added risk factor. Iced coffee tends to be full of high fructose syrup which can wreak havoc on your teeth and cause decay if you over-indulge all summer long. Also, most people tend to get every last bit of flavor from their expensive beverage and chomp in the ice. That is a habit that definitely needs to stop. Chewing on ice erodes tooth enamel and cause microfractures in your teeth that can escalate into a full fractured tooth. If you can’t function without your iced coffee—order it without sweetener and leave those ice cubes alone.


Pickles the choice of kids everywhere on Field Day at school and a staple of the ice cream truck’s offerings. Pickles are enjoyed by many people during the summer, particularly at cookouts and movie theaters. However, pickles are literally swimming in a highly acidic bath of vinegar that can absolutely destroy your tooth enamel over time. If you are a self-described pickle addict and consume them often you should at the very least, rinse your mouth with water thoroughly after consuming. The water helps wash off the acid sitting on your teeth working away at your enamel. Trust us, your teeth will thank you.

Cokes, Kool-Aid & Everything In Between

Okay, this category, especially cokes, is obvious; but aside from sugar do you know why this category of treats poses a threat? Sodas, all have high levels of acid both phosphoric and citric and others. Continued exposure to acidic foods like this can erode teeth over time without a sign. Most Kool-Aid mix packets also contain acid as well, especially citrus flavors. Of course, we know these beverages aren’t just consumed during the summer— there is a huge spike in consumption during this season more than any other. Listen, it’s ok—enjoy a coke or soda once or twice a week. Just remember to brush regularly, and for every cokeyou have,try to have twice as much water. Water keeps gums healthyand helps balance your pH levels. Not to mention it does no damage to your teeth and hydrates better than any sugary beverage.

Ice Cream and Popsicles

Another obvious one, but still worth repeating— over and over again. Popsicles,icecream, andother frozen treats are absolutely loaded with sugar. Kids are usually the main ones at risk because they tend to over-indulge—that cutesy song from the colorful ice cream trucks are no help either though. Children’s teeth at that stage in life are still developing, so the enamel is still quite soft. A constant dousing of sticky sugary treats on their teeth can lead to plaque and decay issues quickly.  If your child has already begun to get their permanent teeth in, this can be even more troublesome—damage to permanent teeth is permanent.The habits you teach your child now will carry on for a lifetime, so use the summer as an opportunity to limit their exposure to such snacks so they really are a treat, not a regular part of their diet. As with any sweet treat, brushing, flossing and rinsing as soon as possible, is the best course of preventative action.

Don’t Let A Cavity Or Filling Stop Your Summer Plans

This summer is expected to be one for the record books in terms of Texas heat, so enjoy the summer treats—just remember to be proactive in moderating and dental care this summer. You only have one smile so make sure you keep it beautiful. As your number one dentist in Houston, we don’t go on summer break. So, if the summer snacks have causeda cavity or knocked out a filling—contact one of our specialists to schedule an exam and we will get you back out in time to hit the beach a bit more this summer.

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