Fall is here and “candy season” is among us. Before you reach for that handful of candy corn or the caramel apple lollipop, keep in mind the oral health effects that candy and sweets can have on teeth.
The bacteria in the mouth that causes cavities loves to eat sugars and carbohydrates – whether it comes from candy or handfuls of potato chips. When bacteria digests, these sugars release acid that can eat away at the tooth enamel and result in tooth decay. The saliva in our mouth helps to neutralize the acids that the bacteria produces and aims to protect our teeth from cavities.
With this in mind, aim to select foods/snacks that stimulate salivary flow, decrease acid insult onto the teeth, and are easily removed with brushing and/or rinsing.
Here are some suggestions:
Good: Sugar-free lollipops and gum, hard candies, and dark chocolates. These stimulate salivation and prevent dry mouth. Gum helps to remove food particles from the teeth and dark chocolate can have other health benefits related to the heart. Of course, candy should be eaten in moderation and the teeth properly cleaned at least twice a day.
Bad: Snacking on cakes, cookies and candy (sticky and acidic candy/dried fruits). Foods high in sugar promote tooth decay. The sugar content and sticky nature of certain candies and dried fruits, make it difficult for the sugars to be neutralized by saliva and removed with tooth brushing. Acidic candies simply add acid insult onto the teeth to allow cavities to form more easily.
Overall, healthy foods make healthy teeth and junk food/juices/sodas make junky teeth. With Halloween around the corner and the temptation of delicious snacks associated with the holiday season, making healthy food choices can be challenging. Be encouraged that your dental team at Hudec Dental is here to help you obtain and maintain a healthy smile.