Not So Sweet: Candy and Your Teeth
October ushers in the season of sweets in a big way. By the time Halloween arrives, most of us have sampled the tiny Twix and mini Milky Way bars enough to know for certain that they’re tasty and that even when they come in small packages, they can still affect our waistlines in a hurry.
But candy does more than delight trick-or-treaters and sabotage our healthy diets. Because of the natural conditions of our mouths, eating too much candy (or anything sugary) will also destroy our teeth. Here’s how.
Any normal, healthy mouth contains bacteria called streptococcus. That type of bacteria feed on sugar, which it breaks down into acids that weaken tooth enamel.
Regular brushing and flossing—and even just drinking plenty of water—can wash away the sugars in candy and help prevent tooth decay. But eating candy frequently, especially sticky candy, is where problems really crop up. The real issue with how candy affects your teeth isn’t about quantity, but rather about duration. How long sugars remain on enamel is at the heart of whether you’ll experience tooth decay.
If you simply can’t resist the sweets, there are a few things you can do to help prevent tooth decay.
- Avoid sticky candies like caramel and taffy
- Drink plenty of water, which washes sugar from the visible parts of your teeth
- Brush more often than you normally would – ideally each time you snack on a sweet
- Floss at least once a day
- Consider sugar-free candies instead
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year
Sugary foods aren’t particularly health in any sense, so it’s best to try to give them up completely. Until then, be sure to schedule a professional cleaning regularly. Give us a call if you’re due for a visit.