Candy tastes great, but it isn’t a nutritionally sound snack that adequately fuels your child’s growing body. Additionally, candy can severely harm your child’s teeth and lead to cavities and oral health disease. But, not all candy effects teeth in the same way. In fact, candy has numerous ways in which it can damage teeth and lead to tooth decay.
Hard candy is very popular, and comes in nearly every flavor and size imaginable. But, be vigilant when letting your child eat hard candy, because it can crack their teeth. Hard candy also tends to stick around longer than other candy, which exposes teeth to sugar for longer. Extended contact with sugar can lead to more cavities because sugar provides bad bacteria with the energy it needs to destroy enamel.
Like hard candy, sticky candy can get stuck in tooth crevices and stay around long after it’s been swallowed. Sticky candy is difficult to remove from teeth, and gives cavity-causing bacteria more time to eat away enamel.
Sour candy can leave teeth susceptible to cavities more so than any other candy. This is because sour candy contains a high amount of acid. In fact, the elevated acid content is what makes it so sour. The acidity can eat away the enamel of teeth, and leave them vulnerable to cavities.
While it’s not exactly candy, gum sweetened with Xylitol can actually clean teeth as it is being chewed. Xylitol sweetened gum is sugarless, and stimulates saliva production which naturally cleans teeth of debris and leftover sugar.
Chocolate is a better sweet option, since it washes away easier than other candy, and is less destructive to enamel. But, dark chocolate is the best type of chocolate for oral health because it contains less sugar than milk chocolate and can actually help keep cavities away! That’s because it contains a flavanoid called epicatechin. Epicatechin has shown to slow tooth decay and also reduces cholesterol, blood clots and clogged arteries.
Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring chemicals that limit bad oral that attacks teeth. The polyphenols in dark chocolate also reduce bad breath!
It’s important that your children brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time if you want to keep cavities away. This is especially important when consuming foods that contain high amounts of sugar.
Schedule an appointment with our office if your child begins experiencing tooth pain, since this could indicate a cavity. We will thoroughly evaluate the state of their oral health, and provide a treatment plan that works for them.