Halloween is right around the corner, and we all know what that means…candy, candy, and more candy! With the cookies, cakes, and confections that accompany Thanksgiving and Christmas following close behind, the next few months can be tough on teeth.
Sugar is the most notorious villain when it comes to your oral health, and candy is filled with it. When you eat foods with lots of sugar, the bacteria in your mouth feed on it, turning it into acid. This acid damages teeth by wearing down enamel, causing decay, and contributing to the formation of cavities.
As always, you can count on your Surf City Dental team to help you and your family make it through the holiday season with a dazzling smile. We’ve even got some tricks to help you enjoy your favorite treats – occasionally – while keeping damage to a minimum. Sound like a sweet deal? Read on!
Though all candy should be consumed in moderation, not all sweets are created equal. We’ll start with the good news: Chocolate is actually a pretty harmless treat. While it still contains sugar, chocolate doesn’t linger on teeth and is easier to wash away compared to other types of candy. The best type to indulge in is dark chocolate because it contains less sugar than other varieties.
Now for the bad news. There are some candies that are best to avoid altogether. Here are Surf City Dental’s top three candies to keep out of your mouth:
1. Sticky, gooey foods
The stickier the treat, the harder it is to clean off your teeth. Gummy snacks, taffy, caramel, and candy corn all allow sugar to linger. Of course, it’s no surprise that the longer sugar sits in your mouth, the more prone your teeth will be to decay and cavities.
2. Hard candy
Lollipops and other hard candies are also a concern when it comes to keeping your smile in great shape. Not only do these types of sweets take longer to dissolve – again, allowing sugar to linger – but biting down on them may lead to chipped or broken teeth.
3. Sour candy
We saved the worst for last in this case. Sour snacks are a double whammy; they are both acidic and coated in sugar! On top of the sugary outer shell, the acid they contain breaks down tooth enamel, leaving your smile more prone to decay.
Protect Your Teeth/h2>
Indulging in your favorite candy is okay once in a while, but it’s best not to make it an everyday habit. Even “sugar-free” products can erode enamel. When you do treat yourself, the following Surf City Dental tips can help minimize the effect on your oral health:
- Drink water after eating sugary snacks. Water helps wash away sugar that’s left behind, as well as any food particles stuck between teeth. It also assists in diluting the acid that forms before it has a chance to wreak havoc on your mouth.
- Eat sweets as part of a meal. During mealtime, your saliva production is at its highest level. Saliva helps wash away bacteria and neutralize the acids in your mouth.
- Follow candy with cheese. Cheese also neutralizes acids and helps restore the natural pH of your mouth.
- Pop in a piece of sugar-free gum after a sweet snack to help stimulate saliva and clean your teeth. The best option is one that contains xylitol, which aids in reducing bacteria levels in your mouth.
- Though you might be tempted to brush immediately after eating candy, wait for at least 30 to 60 minutes. Brushing too soon can damage enamel because sugar and acid will be at their highest levels.
Our staff is always here to help keep your smile bright and, most importantly, healthy. With a little bit of restraint, a dose of knowledge, and regular visits to your Surf City dental team, your teeth will stay in good shape throughout the entire holiday season!