Posted on: 20 April 2015
Eating a pile of trick-or-treat candy around Halloween obviously can have negative effects, but some candy is worse than others for dental health. When you buy candy to hand out to youngsters and as you look through the stash your own children bring home, consider the treats that are best avoided.
Sugary sticky materials are difficult to get off teeth. If your children have to try to remove a substance from their teeth by using fingers, that's a problem.
Examples of these candies include:
- licorice-style sticks and twists
- gumdrops and other gummy candies
The longer sugar stays on teeth, the higher the risk of tooth decay. In addition, these substances can loosen fillings as children chew on them.
The acid that manufacturers add to create the startling sour effects damages tooth enamel. Sour taffy and gummy candies are particularly troublesome, as they combine two of the worst offenders.
To give you an idea of how acidic some of these candies are, consider that the pH level of battery acid is between 0 and 1. Gastric acid from the stomach, as well as vinegar and lemon juice, rank at 2 on the pH scale. It probably seems intuitive that bathing teeth in those substances for any length of time would wear down enamel.
Nevertheless, some sour candies and sprays rank between 1 and 2 on the scale.
Although sucking on hard candy may be somewhat easier on teeth than chewing on certain other sugary materials is, little kids often chomp on it rather than allowing it to dissolve slowly. That can lead to broken teeth.
What You Can Do Now
Help your neighborhood kids by not handing out these treats and by not having them around your own house. Instead of these items, give away small chocolate bars, which are better than the other options.
As for the candy your kids bring home, negotiate a deal. Let them have the most problematic items for the first day or two, then trade better sweet treats for the bad ones and throw the bad ones out.
In addition, teach your children to rinse their mouths with water after eating sugary treats and to chew sugar-free gum containing xylitol, which has a protective effect for enamel. It's best not to brush immediately after eating acidic candy, since the acid has softened the enamel and the brushing can cause damage.
For further information, contact a local dentist.Share