3 Best Candies to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth (And the Worst)
Did you know more than 90% of US adults have had a cavity? In fact, 1 in 4 adults have untreated cavities, and the oral problem is one of the most common chronic health issues of children in the country.
How Cavities Form
The primary causes of tooth decay include sugary sweets, chocolates, and candies, all of which wreak havoc on your teeth. However, it is not sugar itself creating cavities in your mouth. When you eat candy, harmful mouth bacteria feeds on the sugar, which then attacks your teeth to destroy your smile.
The human mouth is comprised of hundreds of different bacteria. And while that may sound off-putting, many of them are helpful in maintaining a healthy oral ecosystem. The others, however, are the culprits behind cavity formation. These bacteria produce acids that disintegrate tooth enamel, and as a result, forms cavities and bacterial infections. When you have a cavity, a hole in your tooth will appear gradually. It will worsen over time, unless you visit your family dentist to receive treatment.
Before you unwrap another piece of candy, learn about the best and worst sweets for your teeth.
Best Candies to Enjoy
Even some of the most health-conscious people have a hard time resisting the sweet and delicious taste of sugar. Luckily, not all candy is bad for your teeth.
Here are three indulgent treats that can satisfy your craving for sweets:
1. Dark Chocolate
We know what you’re thinking: Chocolate contains a lot of sugar! Yes, it definitely does. But the good news is, chocolate’s melt-in-your-mouth texture helps prevent sugar from sticking in between your teeth.
Dark chocolate is one of the best available choices for fulfilling sugar cravings. The ingredients and compounds found in dark chocolate prevent bacteria from producing acidic byproducts. Dark chocolate also contains much less sugar than its milk chocolate counterpart due to its higher cocoa content. Just avoid products with sticky fillings, such as toffee, nougat, and caramel. Sweet fillings will only get stuck in your teeth and produce harmful acidic byproducts.
As an added health note, dark chocolate contains several antioxidants that may help lower blood pressure and even improve blood circulation.
2. Sugar-Free Hard Candy
Anything labeled “sugar-free” may seem unappealing to many, but they do present an abundance of benefits to your mouth, all while satisfying your sweet tooth. Sugar-free hard candies stimulate your production of saliva, which is key to preventing dry mouth. Moreover, saliva plays a crucial role in washing away food particles in your teeth. To avoid enamel erosion, tooth decay, and cavities, opt for sugar-free hard candy when you want a sugary treat.
3. Sugar-Free Gum
Some people have a terrible habit of biting into hard candies. If you must bite or chew on something, introduce your chompers to sugar-free gum. This treat is comparable to sugar-free hard candy in a sense that it also increases saliva production. It has two other incredible benefits, including (1) its ability to remove stubborn food particles and sugar stuck on teeth. This perk prevents plaque buildup and helps lessen your risk of tooth decay. (2) Sugar-free gum contains a natural sweetener called xylitol, which aids in balancing the pH levels in your mouth by neutralizing the acid that destroys tooth enamel.
Candies You Should Avoid
If you have a big sweet tooth, try your best to avoid the following sweet treats:
1. Anything Sticky
Yes, ooey-gooey caramel treats and decadent toffee candies are absolutely yummy. But the stickier the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. Taffy and Tootsie Rolls are primary examples. These sticky candies will adhere themselves to your teeth, extending the amount of time acid can eat away at your enamel. Sticky sweets also attach themselves to your teeth’s crevices, which makes it harder for your saliva to wash away the cavity-causing acid
The same rule applies to dried fruits, which contain sticky properties and high concentration of sugar. Stick to real fruits instead, which not only have far less sugar, but are rich in fiber and water content.
2. Hard Candy
Hard candies like jawbreakers, lollipops, and candy canes contain a lot of sugar. They are also significantly longer to dissolve, meaning you are soaking your entire mouth in sugar. Fact is, the longer you suck on candy, the more saliva you produce and combine with sugar. As a result, you are exposing your teeth to decay-causing acid for longer periods.
Candy corns are another example of hard, sweet candies to avoid. Its main ingredients comprise sugar and corn syrup, both of which are leading causes of painful tooth decay. Therefore, skip the candy corn, especially during Halloween, to protect your teeth and keep them healthy.
As an additional note; remember to never bite into hard candy, regardless if it’s sugar-free or not. They can chip or break your teeth, which may require emergency surgery to fix.
3. Sour Candy
The acid found in sour candies like WarHeads Spray, Sour Patch Kids, and Sour Skittles can take a toll on your teeth. Not only can these sweet and sour confections cause increased cavities, but also painful sensitivity and translucence at the biting edge of your teeth. Sour candies are especially harmful to children since their teeth contain softer enamel that wears and decays more quickly.
What makes sour candies so bad for you is that they contain both sugar and acid. This extra acid can speed up the enamel erosion process, which not only causes cavities, but also triggers teeth discoloration.
A Word of Advice
There is absolutely no need to deprive yourself of sweet, yummy treats. You just need to exercise caution and restraint with sour, chewy, and hard candies. Also, you must practice proper oral hygiene to ensure that your teeth are cavity-free and healthy. If you feel as if something is amiss with your oral health — Talk to us! Our team at Kyrene Family Dentistry can provide the information you need and keep your smile bright and brilliant. Dial 480-705-9005 to schedule an appointment with our Chandler family dentist.