Candy and teeth, what can be done? Candy companies represent more than 55,000 employees in facilities across all 50 states. Since June was national candy month, learn tips to safeguard your young smiles from all the mouth-watering confections out there!
It’s not the candy, perse, that creates cavities, not even really the sugar. But, it’s the environment sugar breeds in your mouth that is the problem. The human mouth is filled with hundreds of bacteria–many that are considered “good bacteria” that help you keep a healthy oral ecosystem. But, add candy into the mix and then the bad bacteria in your mouth has a source of food that you don’t want it to have.
Tooth decay is a result of this oral sugar-fest. Acid-producing oral bacteria feast on carbohydrates–whether from sugar, candy or starch from wholesome foods (like bread). Foods that stick to your teeth are the worst culprits for tooth decay. They give oral bacteria a longer-lasting food source. The faster a food is removed, the safer the tooth enamel stays from the harmful acid produced by bacteria.
Sugar is sugar. It is added to most foods you can buy at the store. It’s hard to avoid sugar, but by checking your food and drink labels you can help young teeth stay healthy. Too much sugar has been linked to countless chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as obesity and addiction. Not only is sugar bad for your body, but it’s a real threat to developing smiles.
Sugar mixes with oral bacteria and forms a sticky film known as “plaque”. Plaque dims the appearance of a white smile while its acidic nature eats away at tooth enamel leading to decay. It doesn’t just wash away by drinking water. When sugar and bacteria mix, it creates an acid that is a transparent film that latches onto your teeth.
The longer plaque sits on your teeth, the greater ability it has to break up the minerals in your teeth with its acids. When it starts to impact your teeth’s strong minerals, it weakens them and triggers tooth decay.
By controlling your child’s consumption of sugar, you greatly impact present and future oral health.
The short answer is yes. Candy that is hard, sticky or sour should be avoided. Hard candies can break or chip a tooth AND also coat the tooth with sugar. Sticky candies (think tootsie rolls, gummy candies, fruit snacks, caramel, taffy etc.) latch on to teeth when you chew them and are difficult to brush or rinse off. Sticky candy often will weaken fillings and crowns as well.
Maybe you don’t feel like you have a candy problem, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a sugar problem! Studies have found that tooth decay is related more to the frequency of eating than to the amount of starch or sugar.
The best action plan for healthy teeth is to eat three meals a day and to brush. While saliva naturally washes away residual food during the period between meals, frequent snacking hurts the teeth. Subsequently, snacking reintroduces food particles and keeps a thin layer on the teeth all day, enabling plaque buildup.
So, does this mean that you have to ban all candy from your home? Or, does it mean that you have to constantly follow your child around with a toothbrush? No. Here are some tips to help keep teeth healthy while still enjoying some treats here and there. Encourage children to:
When your child is a patient at Li’l Sunshine Smiles, our entire focus is on your children. Patients of Li’l Sunshine Smiles become a part of our dental family and enter a safe environment devoted to excellent oral hygiene habits and healthy attitudes towards dental visits/health. Call 813-576-0200 today to make an appointment!