Fall is just upon us and stores are already filled with costumed and Halloween candies. While children are already planning their candy-filled Trick or Treating evening, parents are eagerly trying to discretely find ways to partially get rid of those sugar filled treats. While it is almost impossible to keep our children, and sometimes even ourselves, from eating candy, we wonder if there is such a thing as “better” candy and if healthier habits can be adopted in order to prevent the development of dental cavities?
The Origin of Candy
The first confectioneries were built over 2600 years ago by the Persians. They held the harvesting and knowledge of the “reeds that provided honey without the bees help”. Then, in the 12th century, Europeans found out about sugar cane, and confectioneries started to emerge across Europe. Sugar then begins to be used as a remedy and sold at a high cost. Throughout the centuries, candy confection greatly evolved. Cost, on the other hand, considerably went down making candy accessible to all.
The Effects of Consuming Candy on Teeth
Our mouth is filled with bacterias that transform the sugar contained in candy and acidic foods. Those acids then wear the enamel of teeth by digging micro-holes in the external layer of teeth. Bacterias then loge themselves in, continuing their destructive path within the teeth. If, on top of being sugary, ingested foods are acidic like soft drinks, energy drinks or bitter candy, the destructive effect is multiplied and the damage on the enamel becomes more important. And if there is also presence of dental plaque on the teeth, there is a greater amount of acid producing bacterias. As well as causing dental cavity, eating candy can have other consequences on your teeth. As a matter of facts, sticky candies such as jujubes, caramels or toffee can pop out obturations and even dental bridges or crowns. Biting on hard candy can cause already fragile teeth or dental fillings to fracture.
A Few Advice to Prevent Risks
As it is almost impossible to completely remove the consumption of candy for most of us, here are a few suggestions that can apply to both kids and adults.
- Avoid biting hard candy; letting them melt in your mouth is a better option
- Instead of consuming candy throughout the day, it is preferable to eat them at only one given moment
- Eat candy at the end of a meal because the mouth produces more saliva, which helps eliminating acids responsible for damaging the teeth enamel
- Thoroughly brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste immediately after consuming candy
- Drink plenty of water to dilute acids and sugar
- Eat cheese because the calcium contained in it will help protect teeth
Use dental floss in order to properly clean in between teeth
Finally, there is no such thing as “good” candy on the market. On the other hand, alternatives exist to replace your sugar craving.
- Frozen fruits lightly unthawed are an excellent source of vitamins with a nice sugary taste
- Homemade recipes for jujubes of sugarless candy
- Dark chocolate that contains less sugar and will stick less to teeth
Whichever sweets or their alternative you decide to opt for, it is essential to have good dental hygiene habits to rapidly eliminate the sugar and acids present inside your mouth. There is no secret!