Sugar, You’re the Worst

Sugar, You’re the Worst

I recently went to a few weddings with amazing candy bars and it occurred to me that a lot of people probably will experience the same thing this wedding season. So II wanted to give everyone a quick reminder to limit the candy intake during this time. That’s right, this article is starting off with a sweet buzz kill.

I remember eating a lot of candy when I was a child.  My parents never kept candy in the house and they were careful to limit the amount of candy I could buy and eat.  They certainly did not want to deal with me getting cavities.

When we eat large amounts of candy, it leaves a lot of excess sugar in our mouths and on our teeth.  That excess sugar swishing around is very toxic to the bacteria that normally reside in the mouth.  As a result, the bacteria break down the sugar into acids (mainly lactic acid) and unfortunately, these acids can dissolve the enamel and cause tooth decay.  

For more information, see this.

This is the disease process of a cavity – sugar meets bacteria, bacteria makes acid and acid dissolves teeth.  The main factors in this process that we can control are reducing the amount of sugar we eat and preventing the acid from dissolving our teeth.  

Children are more susceptible to cavities because baby teeth have a thinner enamel layer than adult teeth.  It takes less time for the acids to decay baby teeth.  So it is especially important for parents to be more diligent with your child’s oral hygiene at this time of year.

Some tips for getting you and your little ones through all that candy:

  • have the candy after a meal (there will be acid production from the bacteria breaking down some of the sugar in your food anyway),
  • eat a piece of hard cheese after eating the candy to neutralize some of the acid,
  • rinse the mouth with water after eating the candy to neutralize some of the acid,
  • thoroughly floss and brush teeth before going to bed,
  • avoid candy that needs to dissolve in the mouth before it can be swallowed because this will prolong the acid production.

Phuong Luu, DDS