One of my favorite things to eat as a kid was Sour Patch Kids. I remember the first time my mom gave me some; it was love at first taste. I would save up my money and buy them in bulk at the store.
That was part of the blissful innocence of childhood. If I knew then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have spent my money creating cavities. Maybe I would’ve bought a new toothbrush, or some floss. Okay, maybe not; but candy might not have been so appealing if I’d known what I was doing to my teeth!
You probably know that candy is bad for your teeth, but when it is not only sugary but also sticky and sour, you get one potent candy product. Candy with all three qualities – sticky, sour, and sugary – can literally wreak havoc on your teeth if consumed often enough.
The Three Ways Sour, Sticky Candy Destroys Your Teeth
We all know that sugar is bad for our teeth. It feeds the plaque in our mouth. The bacteria then produce acid that dissolves the enamel on our teeth.
Sour candy is twice as harmful because it dissolves the enamel directly on contact. Even if you brush all the time and have a small number of bacteria in your mouth, sour candy will still damage your teeth.
The stickiness is problematic because it causes the candy to cling to your teeth, giving it more time to do damage than if it were washed away by the saliva. As it hangs around in your mouth, it continues feeding the bacteria in your mouth, causing them to produce the acid that goes to work dissolving your teeth.
What Types of Sour Candy Cause This Damage?
Basically any candy that is sticky and sour has the potential to erode your enamel due to high acidity, feed the bacteria that live on your teeth, and extend the damaging effects of the candy by sticking to your teeth.
Here’s a a list of some of the common culprits:. (The links go to Wikipedia so you can find out about the candy if you’re not familiar with it.):
- Sour Patch Kids
- Sour Skittles
- Sour Starburst
- Sour Gummy Bears
- Sour Gumballs
- Warheads Candy
- Now & Later
How to Reduce the Damage Caused by Sour Candy
I still love to eat sour candy on occasion. You probably do too. So, how can you minimize the damage this type of candy has on your teeth?
Limit your intake of sour candy. Eating sour candy every now and then isn’t the end of the world, but if it becomes a regular ourhealthissues.com habit then you will likely begin to have problems. So, try to cut back as much as you can.
Rinse your mouth out with water right after eating sour candy. This helps to rinse the candy and its sugary residue off your teeth before it can do any lasting damage. I usually keep a bottle of water with me so I can rinse my mouth out after eating sugary foods.
Don’t brush your teeth right after eating sour candy. Although that may seem like strange advice, if you do brush your teeth right after eating sour candy, you can brush away the parts of the tooth that the saliva can repair, increasing the damage to your teeth. So by waiting about an hour to brush, you’ll give your mouth a chance to use its own defenses.
Make a conscious effort to remove the candy with your tongue. By removing the sticky candy from your teeth and swallowing it, you will be depriving the bacteria in your mouth of their sugar source. This will allow your saliva to start re-mineralizing your teeth after about 15-20 minutes.
Take advantage of all the fluoride around you. Most toothpastes contain fluoride. You can also drink fluoridated water and use a fluoridated mouth rinse. Companies have even started making fluoridated floss! Fluoride protects your teeth in many ways, the most important of which is making your enamel stronger so that it is more resistant to acids.
This subject is so important, that in 2008, the California Dental Hygienists Association issued a press release. In it, Erika Feldham, a registered dental hygienist stated:
Most people think this type of candy is safer because it has less sugar, but they don’t know that the acid content is toward the extreme end of the acidic spectrum.
It is not at all surprising that this candy is a contributing factor to acid erosion. With repeated exposure and frequency, sour candy can also lead to a host of oral health problems, including increased cavities, tooth sensitivity, staining, soft-tissue sensitivities and loss of shine.
To sum things up, all candy is harmful to your teeth. If it’s sticky, it’s worse. If it’s sticky and sour, then it is one of the worst possible substances that can come into contact with your teeth. With that said, if you do occasionally splurge on some Sour Patch Kids, then make sure that you take the proper steps to minimize the damage to your teeth.