You probably remember your parents telling you when you were young that candy would rot your teeth. There’s truth to that, but it doesn’t mean you can never indulge. When you know what kinds of candy do the most harm and how to prevent dental issues caused by sugar, you and your kids can still enjoy candy through the holidays and beyond.
How Does Candy Harm Your Teeth?
When you eat candy, sugar can get stuck between or in the deep grooves of your teeth. Sugar provides food for the bacteria and lowers the pH of your mouth.
When the harmful bacteria feeds off that sugar, they multiply, producing acid and eroding the enamel that protects your teeth. Without enamel, your teeth are more prone to cavities, decay, and infection.
What Kinds of Candy Damage Teeth Most?
While the warnings you received as a kid may not have differentiated between one type of treat and another, some sweets cause more damage than others. Any acidic candy can cause more harm than your typical chocolate bar, which puts many fruity candies, like Skittles and Sour Patch Kids, at the top of the list.
Watch out for those that are gummy and sticky, including Starburst, gummy bears, and those beloved caramel-filled chocolates. Sticky and chewy candies put your teeth at greater risk because they’re more likely to get stuck between them, creating a feast for bacteria.
How to Reduce the Damage of Sugar
You don’t have to ban all candy and sugar to prevent cavities. While limiting your intake does help, you can also take these steps to care for your teeth while you enjoy sweet treats:
- Brush your teeth: Wait about 30 minutes after eating treats before you brush your teeth. Brushing right away can damage your enamel, so make sure you wait and then brush thoroughly to remove the bad bacteria.
- Drink or rinse with water: You can’t always brush your teeth after every meal. The next best thing is to take a sip of water and swish it around your mouth like you’re rinsing with mouthwash to remove some of the sugar from your teeth.
- Don’t eat candy by itself: When you eat a meal, your mouth is already producing saliva to break down the food. That saliva helps you break down candy faster, so it doesn’t hang around between your teeth.
At Danville Family Dentistry, our dentists can help you learn how to protect your enamel and prevent disasters caused by sugar. If you experience pain or discomfort after eating candy, request an appointment with us. Call us today at (317) 745-4400 or contact us online.
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.