We all like candy. It’s ok to admit it. With Halloween right around the corner, there’s no shame in enjoying a few sweet treats here and there. Just consider some of the consequences if you do. Being knowledgeable about the harmful effects of candy could save you from major dental problems down the road. To keep your smile looking its best, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
Why Candy Rots Teeth
Growing up, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ve heard a parent say, “You are going to rot your teeth out!” as you sat there devouring that pillowcase of candy on Halloween. Although it may have seemed a little overdramatic at the time, there is some truth to this statement. Your mouth is home to a lot of bacteria and when you eat candy, all the sugar going into your mouth is feeding it. The bacteria releases acids and begins to combine with your saliva and other food remains, creating plaque and tartar. When these substances sit on your teeth, they begin to form small holes, also known as cavities. That’s why brushing and flossing regularly is so important.
Halloween Candy To Avoid
Not every candy is bad but there are certain types you should make a point to avoid more than others. If you’re in the mood for a little treat, some simple knowledge can help you to make your decision. Here are some of the worst types of candy for your teeth.
- Sour Candies – These usually have high acid levels and can break down your enamel very fast. Luckily your saliva is there to assist in the fight but try your best to avoid these if possible.
- Sticky Candies – Anything sticky, from taffy to carmel, can get stuck between all of the crevices in your mouth. When this builds up, tooth decay can occur.
- Sugary Treats – Candy corn, cookies and cakes are usually a big hit this time of year. Be way because they contain massive amounts of sugar.
- “Jawbreakers” – The name alone should turn you away. These hard candies usually take a while to dissolve. If you bite down on these, it can result in cracked or chipped teeth.
Smarter Candy Choices
Although no type of candy is necessarily nutritious, some are far less harmful than others when it comes to your teeth and overall health. So as you’re sifting through your giant bag of Halloween candy, here are some choices you don’t have to feel so guilty about hanging onto.
- Sugar-free – Many candies come in a sugar-free form. Hard candies and lollipops that are known for stimulating your saliva are some of your best sugar-free options. Sucking on these candies will help prevent dry mouth, which in turn helps stop plaque and tartar buildup.
- Chewing Gum – Similar to hard candies, gum is great for stimulating saliva and it can provide the same benefits. Not to mention, it’s great at removing buildup from the cracks of your teeth. What’s even better is that many chewing gums are also sugar-free.
- Dark Chocolate – Although it does contain sugar, dark chocolate is known to be good for your heart and lower blood pressure. So as long as you eat it in moderation and brush your teeth after, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a square here and there.
Take Preventative Measures To Protect Your Teeth
As hard as you may try to avoid candy, it’s important to live a little every once in awhile too! That’s why it’s important to be consistent about taking care of your teeth. Always brush and floss after eating sugary snacks. Brushing will remove that fresh layer of sugar from your teeth before it can cause any damage. Then use floss to get the deep spots that brushing can’t get to. Don’t let any crack go uncleaned. Swishing around a little mouthwash can even help to rinse the sugar from your mouth and assure you have the entire surface area of your teeth covered.
To be sure sugar hasn’t taken a major toll on your teeth, make sure you’re getting regular dental checkups. At Duffield Dentistry, we offer everything from basic cleanings and checkups to more advanced cosmetic dentistry. Give us a call today at (248) 721-4502 to set up an appointment with Royal Oak dentist, Dr. Larry Duffield.
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