It’s that time of the year, and between the caramel apples and the bags of candy carefully placed throughout the store to catch your eye, we often treat ourselves. But think carefully about what you’re eating or you will end up with a trick!
Sugary and sticky items can lead to tooth decay. Things like caramel and gummy treats are especially problematic as they tend to get into crevices and between teeth where saliva cannot easily wash it away. This can lead to cavities and to gum disease.
Sour candies are especially appealing for children and teens, but these can cause significant enamel erosion. According to testing done by the Minnesota Dental Association, the pH of some of the sour candies approaches the level of battery acid! Erosion of the enamel leads to decay. If you or your child likes to eat these acidic items, be sure to rinse afterward with water. Do not brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes, because otherwise, you will be rubbing the acid onto more tooth surfaces.
So which candy creates less of an issue? Hard sugarless candies or lollipops actually increase saliva production. A dry mouth allows plaque to build up faster, so increasing saliva production helps to prevent plaque buildup. Sugarless gum works the same way but also helps to dislodge food particles in the teeth.
The best time to eat sugary treats is with other food. Then rinse with water. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste, and floss once a day to keep your mouth from looking spooky!