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Week 6- Is candy really that bad for my teeth?
This is a fantastic question to kick-off the tastiest time of year! ‘Tis the season for leftover Halloween candy, apple cider, and pumpkin spiced everything. So let’s talk about candy, our favorite sugary beverages, and the dynamic between how we take care of our teeth and how we nourish ourselves.
First, I’ll be completely honest with you- I, like many dental professionals, eat candy and drink beverages so sweet they might as well be candy. We’re human. We’re not perfect. And also sugar tastes good. What I like to discuss with my patients is how we can choose to indulge in these things occasionally but still maintain overall good habits for a healthy smile.
I know that you know about the typical brush/floss advice. I’ll save that lecture for another day. Instead, I’d like to offer you two of my favorite dental tips that you might hear about less often:
Tip #1: Identify your Secret Sugar Sources. Do you keep your teeth sparkling clean but still get cavities? Maybe you are unintentionally giving your teeth frequent, cavity-causing sugar baths from your favorite beverages. Drinks like iced coffee and juice are delicious and don’t have the same bad reputation as coke/soda/pop in the tooth world. However, many popular coffees and juices contain a surprising amount of sugar. I love my iced mochas, lemonade, and sweet tea. But I also try to choose sugar-free beverages more often for the good of my teeth.
Tip #2: Consider chewing sugar-free gum after eating. Chewing sugar-free gum can help your saliva to wash away cavity-causing acids after a snack or meal. I always have a stash of sugar-free gum somewhere easily accessible. For example, I keep some on my desk at work and also in my car. When I’m buying gum, I make sure to do a quick scan of the package to see if there’s a stamp in all capital letters: “ADA”. This stamp, called the ADA Seal of Acceptance, is a thumbs-up from the American Dental Association given to products that are proven safe for teeth.
We don’t need to ban sugary treats to have healthy, cavity-free teeth. But it certainly helps to practice some good habits that decrease the chances of cavities forming. Since every person is unique, I encourage you stop by Comfydent Smiles and talk to us about what you like to eat and drink, when, and how often. These details are important for us to work together on a dental strategy customized for you, so that you can both prevent cavities and enjoy the food and drink you like.