The holiday season brings plenty of joys with it. You gather with family around the fireplace, share good meals together, and maybe even indulge in a few too many of those candies your aunt brought to the party!
It’s no secret that candy is bad for your teeth, right? But have you ever wondered why those sugary sweets can be so damaging? Let’s explore how some of our favorite candies can be detrimental to our dental health, so we can be in the know this holiday season and practice caution.
Where Do Cavities Come From?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the sugar in candy that’s responsible for actually creating cavities. Inside your mouth, there are hundreds of bacteria—but they aren’t all bad. Some bacteria are vital for your oral health.
However, when we eat candy, the harmful bacteria in our mouths feed off of the sugar in the candy. The bacteria then create acids which cause your tooth enamel to erode. Thus cavities, bacterial infections created by those bacterial acids, are formed. A cavity causes a hole in your tooth to form which will only worsen if left untreated.
The Worst Types of Candies
Some candies are worse than others when it comes to your dental health. Typically sticky, chewy candies are the main culprits for causing tooth decay. This includes your favorite taffy, gummy candies, and candy apples among others. The stickier the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. Sticky candies get stuck between your teeth and your saliva is unable to wash them away.
Sour candies are another common culprit for cavities, due to their high acidity. The acid in sour candies, like Skittles and Jolly Ranchers, physically breaks down your tooth enamel, decreasing your mouth’s cavity defenses.
How to Protect You and Your Children’s Teeth
So, should you avoid candy all together this holiday season? Not necessarily. There are a few things you can do to minimize candy’s impact on your teeth and your children’s teeth.
Only eat candy with meals. Saliva production increases at mealtime and is helpful in both washing away food particles and canceling out acids.
Brush your teeth 30 minutes after eating acidic candies or drinking acidic beverages. If you brush your teeth too soon after consuming acidic foods or beverages, you’re actually doing more damage to your enamel!
Finally, drink lots of water. Water helps prevent tooth decay by canceling out a few of the harmful effects of sugar. If you or your children eat candy, swish some water around your mouths to clean them out if you can’t brush your teeth anytime soon.
Dentists: The Best Cavity Defense
Having routine dental checkups is the best way to ensure that you and your children’s oral health is up to par. At LeCroy Dental, we strive to give you and your family the best dental care, service, and results. We believe everyone deserves to have the happiest, healthy smiles possible. Contact us today to schedule your appointment. We can’t wait to help you!