How to Have a Sweet Tooth and Still Have Great Teeth!

Man with toothache

Marea White DDS man with toothache

I hope you enjoyed your Easter celebrations Bedford, Texas! Perhaps you even bought some of the candy that remains discounted in many stores. So this is the perfect time for me to talk about how candy affects your dental health.

Avoiding candy altogether would be a sad fate for any person and I would never wish that on someone. Candy can be a fun treat, when it is enjoyed prudently.

There are some key facts to remember that will help you to have candy in your life in a smart and sustainable way. I hope to arm you with the information you need to make wise decisions for your dental health.

3 Things You CAN Do

The sugar in candy is what makes it so appealing and, at times, addictive. This is also the substance that decreases the strength and health of your smile.

How does sugar do all that damage? It reacts with the bacteria in your mouth to create acid; and then the acid weakens and harms your teeth.

Supporting a strong and healthy smile and limiting dental decay doesn’t have to be difficult.

1st – You can limit the amount of sugar you consume.

2nd – You can choose carefully when you eat sugar.

3rd – You can avoid the worst kinds of candy.

Hidden Sources of Sugar

Limiting sugar can sometimes be as simple as saying “no thanks” to dessert after dinner. But sometimes there are hidden sources of sugar. Milk, for example, added to your coffee can increase the grams of sugar substantially.

Breakfast cereals, granola bars, and ready-made snacks all have higher numbers of sugar than whole foods. Your best bet for limiting sugar intake is eat fresh fruits and vegetables and whole foods rather than processed foods.

The Best Time to Eat Candy

The best time to eat candy is quickly!

Honestly, the time of day does not matter to your dental health as much as how quickly you eat it. The point is to get the sugar out of your mouth as quickly as possible.

Snacking all day is the right way to make sure there is always a layer of sugar and acid attacking your teeth.

Instead, enjoy your candy (even better if you enjoy it with a meal) and then swish with water or a mouthwash to rebalance the pH levels and clean those tooth surfaces.

Types of Candy to Avoid

Hard or Sticky Candy

Hard and sticky candy will remain in your mouth longer than candy that melts (like chocolate).

Have you ever noticed that things like peanut brittle stay stuck in your mouth for hours if you don’t take care of it? The longer it sits there, the longer the acid is working away at your teeth.

Also, avoid hard jelly beans and anything coated in sugar grains or crystals.

Sour Candy

Typically, sour candy has a pH level of 3. To put that in perspective, battery acid has a pH level of 1 and water is pH7. I highly recommend avoiding all sour candy because not only does it have lots of sugar in it, it has a pH level that will do some serious damage to your mouth.

What if I love sour candy?

Okay, you can have it once in awhile. Just make sure to take care of your dental health after. Swish your mouth with water, chew xylitol gum which produces saliva, or have a dairy product like milk or cheese.

Wait to brush your teeth until about 30 minutes after eating sour candy. With all that acid, your teeth will be more sensitive to the abrasive toothbrush and paste.

I hope this gives you some useful information for making the best choices about candy so your overall dental health doesn’t suffer.

~Dr. Marea White