The temptation to indulge in sugary treats can create a sticky situation for teeth. This Halloween, don’t be tricked into risking dental health by drinking sugary beverages or chewing hard, sticky or gummy candies that stick to and in between teeth. Satisfy a sweet tooth and keep your smile healthy with a few simple dental friendly tricks for enjoying treats.
The Scary Truth About Sweets
Acidic and sugar based drinks and treats are damaging to teeth. When sugary treats are consumed, a plaque bacteria film forms over teeth. When sugar mixes with this plaque bacteria, acids are produced that feast on the enamel and dentine of teeth. Sugary drinks add even more acid to what our mouths already produce. The acid and sugar interaction attacks teeth, dissolving enamel, weakening the hard mineralized surface of tooth structure and over time causes dental erosion, tooth decay and holes that lead to cavities. When dental decay is left untreated, an abscess can form, which may result in tooth extraction. Food coloring in sugary drinks and treats can also lead to stains, dulling the appearance of teeth.
Frightening Facts About Candies
Avoid sticky, gummy and hard candies that stay in the mouth for a long time. Caramel, taffy, fruit chews and gummies stick to and in between teeth and can wreak havoc on teeth. Hard candy is particularly treacherous since it lingers in the mouth longer. Sucking a lollipop or jawbreaker gives sugar time to spread in the mouth and sit on teeth. Sour candies can also be a nightmare. The acidity weakens and erodes enamel, making teeth more susceptible to cavities.
Shockingly Smart Snack Ideas and Dentist-Approved Treats
The good news is you don’t have to give up on sweets. Simply snack smart by avoiding acidic drinks and sticky treats that cling to the surface of teeth. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is tooth-friendly since it melts when consumed and does not stick to teeth. The best foods for dental health include nature’s candy, fruit, with options low in acidity including bananas, strawberries, melons or peaches. Nut butters, chia pudding and even DIY chocolate truffles are delectable naturally sweet treats. Healthy, organic snacks with a crunchy texture are even better since they brush against teeth. Making good food and beverage choices when it comes to sweets will lead to improved dental health and brighter smiles.
Tricks for a Healthy Smile
When a person sips a sugary drink or eats a sugary treat, an acid attack occurs in the mouth that can last for up to 20 minutes. The acid demineralizes teeth and weakens tooth structure. After about 20 minutes, saliva remineralizes and strengthens teeth. Once saliva has neutralized the acid, an acid attack ends. This acid-neutralizing balancing act is challenging in the mouths of people who regularly snack on sticky sugary foods or sip sugar-laden drinks. After enjoying sweets, health professionals recommend rinsing the mouth with water, a fluoride mouth rinse or chewing a dentist-recommended sugar-free gum to induce saliva production and neutralize acid production. Drinking water with fluoride fights dry mouth, strengthens teeth and keeps the mouth cleaner, washing away leftover food particles and sugar while diluting acid produced by plaque bacteria, allowing saliva to help keep the mouth clean.
You can also remove sugar from teeth and prevent it from eroding tooth enamel by water flossing or using fluoride mouthwash after eating or drinking sugary foods and beverages. Flossing cleans teeth, improves breath and brightens smiles. Improving your daily dental care routine and keeping regular dental checkups is the trick to combat acid attacks on teeth.
Prevent sugary treats from playing tricks on teeth. Brush, floss and drink water after enjoying sweets and contact Three Rivers Dental Group by calling 1-855-NO FEARS or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located throughout the Pittsburgh area in Greentree, Cranberry, Greensburg, and Jennerstown.