It has been half a week since Halloween and chances are your kids are still sitting on bowls full of candy. The question of how bad this is for their teeth must be coming up. The Ontario Dental Association has some tips about that!
Starting with: How does candy harm your teeth? The bacteria in your mouth use the sugar in your candies to create acid that breaks down the enamel on your teeth which can eventually cause a cavity. The longer the sugar stays in your mouth, the more acid, and the more it can break down your teeth.
This makes which candy is bad for your teeth a little obvious; the sticky/chewy candies or the hard ones that take a long time to finish. Caramels, Raisins, Fruit Strips, Lollipops, Jaw Breakers are all candies that will allow a lot of acid build up. Sour Candies are apparently the worst because they start off acidic and that just gives the breakdown a head start. One treat that might be forgotten when thinking trick or treating is chips and Cheesies, these also contain sugar and can get stuck in your teeth.
Chocolate on the other hand is one of the better treats, while yes it contains sugar, it dissolves quickly and is easy to rinse out. Dark chocolate is even better because it is less sweet.
That brings up the next tip; rinse out your mouth after what ever candy you eat. A swish of water can not only help keep you hydrated it can also dilute sugar and acid and help clear them away from your teeth. Another helpful tip is to eat a bit of cheese or some nuts. Cheese can neutralize some of the acids in your mouth a bit, and nuts contain vitamins and minerals helpful to your teeth.
Finally, there are tips to the timing of eating candy. One tip is to eat your candy in one batch, instead of strung out over a whole day, to reduce the time the sugar sits in your mouth. Try to eat your candy when you are having a meal; your mouth is already fighting the acids caused by sugar and you’ll be less hungry and eat less candy. And never eat your candy before bed; your mouth dries out over night and sugar will sit giving the acids plenty of time to damage your teeth.
And their final tip is about brushing: While it is a great idea to brush and floss after eating candy they recommend you wait at least a half an hour. Eating anything will soften your tooth enamel and if you were to brush right away it can harm more than help.
Hopefully these tips helped you to learn a little something about your pearly whites and the effects of eating candy and you can enjoy your remaining sweets in confidence that you can protect your smile.
For more information on teeth care, check out the Canadian Dental Association, visit their website. www.cda-adc.ca