When you’re pawing through that glorious pile of candy your kids bring home (hey, safety first!) you can protect your teeth from tooth decay by being selective. A good rule is: the stickier the candy, the worse it is for your teeth.
Sticky candy is harder to remove from the crevices of the teeth, so it has more opportunity to produce fast-multiplying, decay-causing bacteria. Hard candy like lollipops bathe the teeth in sugar for long periods, and sour candy is ultra-acidic, which harms enamel. The good news for chocolate lovers? It’s easy to wash off the teeth.
Did you know? Each acid attack on the teeth lasts about 20 minutes, so if you’re snacking on candy all day long, your teeth are under a constant attack from acid. Acid is formed when bacteria breaks sugar down, and it’s a problem for our teeth because it strips the enamel of important minerals and wears it away.
Instead, just be mindful of when you have candy. Maybe you have a piece (or 2) after dinner. Or maybe you have it during your normal snack-time, followed by some crunchy produce, like carrots, apples or celery, which naturally help clean the teeth of plaque and can help remove sugar in hard-to-reach places.
Rather than reaching for your toothbrush right after having candy, reach for a glass of water instead. Wait, what? We know, we’ve all been taught that brushing is best, but in this case, it’s not. If your teeth are bathed in acid, the scrubbing action of a toothbrush allows the acid to be even more damaging on the enamel. Not only does this lead to decay, but also sensitive teeth. Instead, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water and then wait 20–30 minutes before brushing.
Er, by gum, we don’t mean the sugary stuff hidden in those tasty suckers! Rather, chew some sugar-free gum after having candy. This will stimulate saliva flow, our smiles’ natural way to counteract acid, plaque and bacteria.
If you and your kids have a love for all candies sweet and sticky, products with fluoride are a must in the fight against tooth decay. This naturally occurring mineral helps prevent cavities by remineralizing and strengthening enamel and can even reverse the early stages of decay!
But keep in mind: quality counts!
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