September 2009 we wrote a blog on how hard candies can wreak havoc with your teeth. Since then we have seen many more adult patients who have developed an alarming number of cavities from sucking on hard candies all day and so we thought we should update the hard candy blog.
Many people find themselves with dry mouth, often due to medications such as antihistamines, medication for high blood pressure, anti-depressants, etc. Unfortunately, many people try to alleviate this problem with hard candy or cough drops, which can have a very high sugar content. Since these candies sit in your mouth for a prolonged period of time the bacteria that naturally live in your mouth feed on the sugar, turning it into acid. This acid then eats away at the hard enamel on our teeth causing decay in a short period of time. The longer this acid bath lasts the greater the chances for tooth decay.
If you find yourself suffering from dry mouth a special toothpaste or rinse can be prescribe to alleviate dryness. Fluoride is also good to slow decay.
If you eat hard, sticky, or gummy candy – anything that sticks to teeth or stays in the mouth for a long period of time – you are asking for big trouble. Make sure you use a sugar-free candy and avoid prolonged periods of time with anything that contains sugar (i.e. sipping sports drinks, power drinks, sodas, chewing gum, candies or mints – even antacids). A const5ant diet of sugar feeds the bacteria all day long and they continually excrete acid onto your teeth. After any sugar ingestion rinse well to dilute the sugars and the acids and brush your teeth as soon as you can with a fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to brush at least twice a day, paying special attention to the gum line.
If you must eat sugar – eat it and be done with it. Then rinse your mouth with water.