Can Candy Cause Oral Health Problems?

Various candy in wrappers against a purple background October is a big month for candy because of Halloween. Are you wondering why you’ve always been told candy was bad for your oral health? Read on to learn how the sugar in candy affects your teeth.

Sugar Science

The high sugar content is the reason why candy is bad for your teeth, not only at Halloween but any time of year. When you put sugary candy in your mouth, bacteria begins chowing down on it. As a result of their sugary meal, the bacteria produce acid that weakens the enamel of your teeth. Additionally, these well-fed bacteria combine with the saliva in your mouth to accumulate into a sticky film called plaque. Plaque irritates gums, causing gum disease. And if plaque isn’t removed through daily brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar. Tartar can only be safely removed by a dental professional. But until then, its pores give bacteria even more real estate to spread and produce tooth-damaging acid.

If weakened enamel becomes permanently damaged by bacteria, tiny holes begin to form. These are called cavities. One purpose of regular cleanings and exams is to make sure early-stage decay can be reversed and cavities are cleaned out and filled. If not, the decay only spreads and the damage gets worse. Untreated decay can reach far inside the tooth, causing pain and infection. It can even destroy your tooth nerve and jawbone density.

Sticky Culprits of Decay

While the bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar found in all types of food, too much candy can really crush your dreams of good oral health. This is not only because of candy’s high sugar content, but because of how sticky it is. Sticky candies like gummies, caramel, and taffy are hard to remove from your teeth and it’s easy to miss spots even when you brush. This prolonged contact gives bacteria an easy meal and prime opportunities for making lots of enamel-destroying acid. Candies you keep in your mouth for a long time, like lollipops and bubble gum, are also harmful for the same reason.

How to Protect Your Teeth From Sugar

Our Hillstream Dental team isn’t telling you to never eat candy (or sugar) ever again. Instead, we want you to be informed about why it’s important to take care of your teeth and to consume sugary foods in moderation. Always be sure to drink plenty of water after enjoying a piece of candy. We also recommend chewing a piece of sugar-free gum for at least 20 minutes. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and to floss every day. Additionally, maintain regular appointments with our expert smile team to keep your mouth cavity-free!

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Hillstream Dental

Hillstream Dental