Summer Snacks that are Bad for Your Teeth & What to Choose Instead

smiling boy with popsicles

Summer in Michigan is a fun and happy time, filled with bonfires, beach days, boat rides, pool parties, and playing in the backyard. But with all those good times come a bevy of snacks that can wreak havoc on your teeth. What are the summer snacks that are bad for your teeth, and what should you indulge in instead?


Popsicles are cold, which can set off tooth sensitivity, and they’re pure sugar. The bacteria in your mouth will feast on that sugar, secreting the acids that cause tooth decay and cavities. Plus, popsicles are sticky and the melted juice will stick to your teeth and exacerbate the decay.

Better alternative: frozen fruit. While still sugary, this natural option has less than a typical popsicle, and won’t stick to your teeth as much.

Ice cream

Just like popsicles, ice cream is high in sugar and cold enough to cause sensitive teeth some pain. As a dairy product, ice cream does have some calcium, which is good for teeth and bone strength, so it’s not the worst occasional indulgence.

Better alternative: frozen yogurt. It’s slightly lower in calories and sugar.

Soda and lemonade

Hot summer days make us want to reach for a cool refreshing can of pop or a glass of lemonade. But beware, these options are full of sugar, and the acids in both (in lemonade from the citrus, in soda from the chemicals that cause the carbonation) eat at tooth enamel.

Better alternative: infused ice water. Water is the original cool refresher, and you can add flavor without adding carbonation or sugar by infusing your water with fruits like strawberries or lemons or herbs like mint.


S’mores are a bonfire staple, but chocolate and marshmallows are both full of sugar, and marshmallow will stick to your teeth, creating a heaven for decay-causing, sugar-eating mouth bacteria.

Better alternative: hotdogs. While they’re not a sweet treat, hot dogs are still fun to roast over the fire, and they won’t stick to your teeth.

Beer and wine coolers

Just like with soda and lemonade, these beverages have sugar, acids, and carbonation that can hurt your teeth.

Better alternative: hard seltzer. While still carbonated, hard seltzers have significantly less sugar than your average wine cooler, while still having the delicious flavor and a high enough ABV to give you that summer buzz.

Sports drinks

Playing sports is good for you, but Gatorade and Powerade, not so much. They’re pure sugar, and they affect your teeth accordingly.

Better alternative: good old water. You might not enjoy the taste of water as much as your favorite sports drink, but it really is the best hydration out there, and it has no adverse effects on teeth. Plus, at zero calories, it won’t undo the calories you burned on the field or during your workout.

Have too many popsicles this summer? Call the office at Mogren Dentistry to get your teeth back in shape, and fill any cavities.


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