The Best and Worst Candies for Your Teeth
It’s almost impossible to avoid eating candy at some point during the year. During the holidays, it’s hard to resist those tasty little bundles of sugary sweetness. But some candies wreak havoc on your teeth and can destroy your smile. Before you unwrap another candy bar, learn about the best and worst candies for your teeth.
4 Types of Candy to Avoid
When you see that bowl of candy at your company holiday party, your first instinct might be to grab a handful. If you have a sweet tooth, make sure you avoid the following sweet treats.
Chewy and/or Sticky Sweets
You might think that taffies, caramels, and gummy candies are delicious. But your teeth probably don’t agree with you. The stickier the candy, the worse it is for your teeth.
When you eat sugar, healthy bacteria in your mouth break down the sugar and produce not-so-healthy acid. This acid eats away at tooth enamel, softening it and leaving your teeth susceptible to damage.
Chewy candies stick to your teeth, prolonging the amount of time acid has to eat away at your enamel. Sticky candies also lodge themselves in your teeth’s crevices, making it harder for your saliva to wash away cavity-causing acid.
Sour candies pack a double punch in that they contain sugar and acid. The extra acid in sour candies speed up the enamel erosion process, which causes discolouration and cavities.
Sour candies are especially detrimental to children. Children’s teeth contain soft enamel that wears and decays more easily.
Hard candies, such as lollipops and candy canes, contain a lot of sugar. More importantly, though, they take a long time to dissolve in your mouth. This means that when you suck on a butterscotch disc or candy cane, you drench your teeth in sugar. And the longer you suck on hard candy, the longer you expose your teeth to decay-causing acid.
Additionally, some hard candies, like Jawbreakers, are hard enough to chip or break your teeth. Remember not to chew or gnaw on hard candy if you do eat it.
These bite-size candies are a staple at Halloween. Because they are so small, most people eat several handfuls of them in a single sitting. But you should say no to candy corns for two reasons:
- Candy corn’s main ingredients are sugar and corn syrup, both of which lead to tooth decay. As mentioned above, your mouth produces bacteria to eat away at sugar. If you eat too much sugar, this bacteria will also eat away at your teeth. Skip the candy corn to protect your tooth enamel.
- Candy corn contains 140 calories per 19 pieces. Although they seem harmless, it’s easy to consume upwards of 400 calories and 10 spoonfuls of sugar with just one handful.
You should avoid any foods that contain high amounts of sugar or acids, such as cookies, cakes, or soda. The more sugar a food contains, the harder it is on your teeth.
3 Types of Candy You Don’t Have to Feel Guilty About
Sugar is tasty. Even the healthiest person has the urge to indulge in a sweet treat every now and then. Luckily, not all candy is bad for your teeth.
Here are three types of candy you can use to treat yourself when you’re craving sugar.
Although chocolate contains a lot of sugar, it breaks down quickly in your mouth. It won’t stick to your teeth or get stuck in between your teeth.
Opt for a dark chocolate when you eat chocolate. Dark chocolate contains less sugar than milk chocolate because it is higher in cocoa content. This cocoa prevents your mouth from producing as much bacteria and acid as it would with other sugary treats.
Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants that lower blood pressure and improve blood flow.
Be sure to eat chocolate that contains no hard or sticky fillings, such as nuts or caramels. Nuts get stuck in your teeth and chewy fillings stick to your teeth.
Sugar-Free Hard Candy
Sugar-free hard candies stimulate saliva production and prevent dry mouth. Further, saliva cleans your teeth by washing away food particles. To avoid enamel erosion, tooth decay and cavities, choose sugar-free hard candy when you crave a sugary treat.
Sugar-free gum is similar to sugar-free hard candy in that it increases saliva production. It has two other benefits, however:
- Sugar-free gum dislodges food particles and stuck-on sugar from teeth. This prevents plaque buildup and helps reduce your risk of cavities.
- Sugar-free gum contains xylitol, which is a natural sugar. It helps balance the pH levels in your mouth by neutralizing enamel-eating acid.
You don’t have to deprive yourself of sweet, yummy treats. You just need to exercise caution and restraint with sour, chewy, and hard candies. Talk to us, your family dentist in Red Deer at Parkland Mall Dental about other foods you should avoid to keep your smile healthy and bright.