Ok, so the idea of candy being bad for teeth isn’t a new one. Dentists and doctors—and moms—have been warning us about it since the invention of sugary treats.
Even so, we thought a little reminder couldn’t hurt, especially since there’s about to be a lot of candy on the street. Plus it might be helpful to find out which candy is worse for your teeth—yes, some candy does more harm than others!
How Oral Bacteria Works
Right now, it’s probably the middle of the day, or maybe early evening. You’re not eating. You’ve taken a sip of water, and your mouth feels clean. Right now, there are certain “good bacteria” that are lying dormant, waiting until your next bite to go to work breaking down food. Your teeth are the first line of food breakdown. Once food is broken up into small enough pieces, the good bacteria break it down even further to be more easily digested.
Only, this great work on the part of the bacteria goes south when you introduce the great tooth nemesis: sugar. According to BrightNow.com, the good bacteria break down sugar into acids, which turn and attack the teeth, causing tooth decay. You can see now that Halloween presents a dilemma for your mouth—it tastes so good, but it causes so much damage.
The Worst Candy for Your Teeth
No candy is going to do your mouth any favors, but certain kinds are worse than others. Why? It all depends on how sticky the candy is. A Huffington Post article points out that when sugar sticks to your teeth by means of sticky candy, it spells long-term tooth decay for your mouth. The longer sugar stays in your teeth, the more the bacteria break it down into acids. The more acid, the more tooth decay.
Any kind of candy that involves your child (or you!) taking a bite and then tugging and pulling on it means a heightened risk of cavities. Taffy, caramels, tootsie rolls, and the like are the absolute worst for your teeth.
Minimize the Damage
So if some candies are especially bad for our teeth, are there any that are good? Not if there’s sugar in them. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. If you stick to (no pun intended) candies you can suck on—or at least won’t stick to your teeth—you can prevent the development of decaying acids by immediately following the candy with water. Lollipops, peppermints, and so on won’t stick to your teeth, so following the sugar with a good rinse of water will push it down your throat and out of the way of good bacteria. Follow this little water rule, along with some other tips, to avoid tooth decay.
How do you avoid tooth decay at Halloween?
We know it’s unrealistic to expect that you will avoid sugar altogether this Halloween, which is why we’ve shared tips like avoiding the sticky candy and drinking water right after. We don’t want to see you in our office next month just because you ate too many caramels on October 31!
Do you have other strategies for avoiding tooth decay around Halloween? We’d like to hear them! Did our tips keep you from getting a cavity? Your comments will help our readers, so don’t hesitate—leave one now!