By James F. Pechloff, DDS
July 30, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Sugar  

Dangers of Candy Find out just what sugar does to healthy teeth and how you can avoid decay.

While we often associate Halloween and Christmas with an increase in candy consumption, summer can also promote our love of sugary treats. From candy at neighborhood cookouts to pastries and cakes at weddings, it seems that we can’t get away from sugar. However, candy has a nasty little secret: it can slowly start to destroy your smile. You probably remember your parents telling you, "Candy will rot your teeth!" While dramatic, it’s true! Dr. James Pechloff, your Wauwatosa dentist, wants you to know how candy can damage your smile.

Smiles 101

As with the rest of your body, your mouth contains bacteria that we need to keep our mouths healthy. However, these bacteria, just like you, also love sugar. Once the bacteria start eating the sugar left on your teeth by sweet treats, they turn it into acid. The acid then starts to eat away at the healthy enamel of your teeth.

The Dangers of Sugar

While the more visible parts of your smile tend to be safer from acid since drinking water and brushing your teeth after consuming the food can be enough to wash the acid away, we really start to find trouble when the sugar lodges in the nooks and crannies of your molars and between teeth. The bacteria can hide there, wearing away enamel for longer periods of time.

Length of exposure to the sugar is important. While this might mean limiting how much sugar you eat, there is more to it than that. It also means factoring in how long sugar stays in your mouth. This is why soft candies should be avoided, since they stick to your teeth and are difficult to remove from their crevices.

What You Can Do

While the number one way to ensure that sugar doesn’t damage your teeth is to not eat it, let’s face it, we’re all human and we love sweet treats now and again. So if avoiding sugar is just too challenging, there are other things you can do to still get your sugary fix without the exorbitant dental bill. Your Wauwatosa dentist recommends eating candy that is sugar-free and sweetened with xylitol, a sugar substitute found in fruit that bacteria can’t break down.

If you consume sugar during the day you should also be brushing your teeth more than twice a day, and immediately after consuming your treat. Also, don’t forget the floss!

Sugar can take quite the toll on your smile, so no matter how well you care for your teeth at home, you still need to see your Wauwatosa dentist every six months for cleanings and exams. If it’s time for your next appointment call Dr. James Pechloff today!