Burnaby Dentists offer dental tips on how to be able to enjoy your candy and save your teeth.
We’ve all heard it said many times over that candy is bad for our teeth. At this time of year though, when candy seems to be absolutely everywhere, this concern may be at the forefront of our minds.
Fortunately, you don’t have to avoid candy altogether to protect your tooth enamel. Instead, there are simple adjustments that can be made to your dental hygiene habits so that your teeth are protected from unnecessary damage. In order to understand just what we can do to protect our teeth from decay, let us first consider what effects candy can have.
Each of our teeth has an outer covering which helps to protect it. This tooth enamel, although it is a very strong tissue, can be damaged, and unlike many of the tissues in our body, tooth enamel cannot be repaired or replaced. Damage to the tooth enamel is permanent.
Your diet has a direct effect on the condition of your tooth enamel. Drinking acidic beverages (like colas, juice, or wine) and consuming foods containing sugars and starches can lead to erosion of the tooth enamel. For this reason candies have been closely identified with this type of damage to the teeth.
It is also interesting to note that not all candy is created equal, at least not from the standpoint of your teeth. Any gummy or extra-chewy candies are stickier, and will therefore are stay on your teeth for longer. Hard candies that you hold and suck on in your mouth are also especially bad since they stay in your mouth for a prolonged time and give the enamel additional exposure to acids and sugars. Chewing or crunching hard candies is also a common cause of damage to tooth enamel. The worst offenders though, are sour candies. Shockingly, studies have shown them to potentially cause 92 per cent more tooth enamel erosion than regular candies.
Tooth enamel damage can lead to various complications, including painful or sensitive teeth as well as cracking or chipping of the teeth. As the enamel becomes more damaged, your teeth become more and more susceptible to decay and cavities. In some cases, an infection may occur or teeth can even be lost to severe enamel damage.
There are ways however to help prevent this erosion and damage, even if your diet includes candy or other sugary or acidic foods. If you rinse your mouth with water right after having acidic foods or drinks, this will cut down on the amount of plaque and acids that remain on your teeth. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help also to combat dry mouth, which can make tooth enamel erosion worse. Chewing sugar-free gum after eating candy or a meal will act to increase your saliva flow and may help to remove any residual food or candy particles that have become stuck to your teeth. Especially effective are gums containing xylitol, which has been shown to help reduce plaque and keep a neutral pH balance in your mouth, thus protecting your teeth from tooth decay. And one of the most simple and effective means of protecting your tooth enamel? Yes, you guessed it. Regular brushing and flossing is key, especially after eating candy or other foods that contribute to enamel erosion.
If you have concerns about your enamel or your teeth in general, whether related to candy consumption or not, why not come see us at North Burnaby Dental Group?