Many of us are concerned about our health right now, and it’s important to remember oral health is always important. With the Easter holiday right around the corner and summer coming up fast, it’s important to remember eating too much candy can be quite bad for our teeth! While sweet candies take most of the blame, we need to remember sour candies aren’t any safer just because they have less sugar. In fact, some sour candies are among the worst things you can eat in terms of our oral health. How does that work? Let’s take a look at the ways tooth damage occurs and how sour candies, in particular, can contribute tooth damage and decay.
How Candy Causes Tooth Decay
We often blame sugar for tooth decay—and that’s true in part. Sugar causes tooth decay by feeding the bacteria in our mouths and causing their populations to grow rapidly. While many of the bacteria that live in our mouths are healthy and help our oral health, some of them are harmful and can contribute to tooth damage and tooth decay. The way they do this involves how they interact with the sugars and starches we eat: bacteria eat them too and as a result produce strong acids as waste. This acid is what ultimately does the damage to our teeth. Acids damage our teeth by stripping vital minerals away from the tooth’s enamel. Enamel is the shiny outer layer that protects the tooth and makes our smiles bright. When the enamel loses minerals, holes might develop. These holes are called cavities, and if we don’t take steps to prevent or repair them they can grow and cause tooth pain or even tooth loss.
Why Sour Candies Are Worse
On the surface, we might think sour candies are safer because many of them contain marginally less sugar than other sweets do. However, that’s really the problem. While sour candies contain a bit—and only a bit—less sugar, they contain quite a bit of acid added to give them their delicious sour flavor. Those acids are safe to eat (acids naturally occur in a great many foods) but in this concentration and accompanied by sugar they can cause great harm. They function on teeth in many of the same ways that the acids produced by bacteria do, stripping vital minerals away from the enamel and weakening it. Combined with the sugars from the candy, which feed bacteria and their acid production, we get a double whammy of oral health damage. Cavities and gum disease may result, which can have a negative effect on both our health and our appearance!
Keeping Your Teeth Healthy
So how do we keep our teeth healthy? It’s fairly simple really: limiting the amount of candy we consume, either sweet or sour, does a lot to help avoid bacteria growth and tooth damage or decay. Substituting healthy foods that contribute to oral health and well being is a much better choice. As always, the most important thing we can do for our oral health is a regular brushing and flossing regimen. By brushing and flossing several times a day, particularly after meals, we can go a long way towards keeping teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime.
BlueWave Dentistry is dedicated to helping our patients develop and maintain their oral health across a lifetime. We offer a variety of general and cosmetic dentistry services, and our dedicated team of professionals will work to meet the needs of each patient as they are. Get in touch today and we’ll make an appointment as soon as possible to help you along your oral health journey.