Is too much Candy a Treat or a Trick?

With Halloween happening this evening, many children will be going through their neighborhoods, going door to door chanting the words, “Trick or Treat”. Of course, they expect a treat, but how good are these treats for their teeth and are there some candies better than others?

The real problem isn’t so much the amount of sugar, but the streptococcus bacteria in our mouths that  feed on it. When this bacteria feeds on the sugary tidbits lodged in your teeth, they excrete acids that eat away at your tooth enamel.  That’s why it’s important to brush your teeth after eating candy.

If you must eat candy, there are some better than others.

  • Sugar-free Lollipops and Hard Candies and Sugar Free Chewing Gum: These act in similar ways by stimulating saliva, which prevents dry mouth. A dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, leading to an increased risk of cavities. Also chewing sugar free gum containing the artificial sweeteners sorbitol and xylitol reduces cavities.
  • Dark Chocolate: Even though there is a lot of sugar in chocolate, dark chocolate has been shown to have antioxidants, which are good for your heath.  Just remember to eat in moderation.

Bad candies to avoid include:

  • Snacks high in sugar such as cake, cookies and candy corn.
  • Chewy sticky sweets such as gummy bears, taffy and caramels that can get stuck between your teeth.
  • Sour candies. Candies high in acid can break down tooth enamel.

One good thing to remember is that saliva slowly helps to restore the natural balance of the acid in the mouth. After eating acidic foods, wait around 20 minutes before brushing to allow the natural acting saliva to do its thing, otherwise you might cause more damage by brushing acid onto tooth surfaces.

Candy can be a treat if you choose the right kind, and limit the bad ones.

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What about Dental Implants?

If you are missing one or more teeth, you’ll want replacements that are as natural as possible. If dentures don’t work for you, you may consider dental implants.

According to MouthHealthy.org, there are generally three phases to getting an implant:

  • First, the dentist surgically places the implant into the jawbone. Your dentist may recommend a diet of soft foods, cold foods and warm soup during the healing process.
  • Next, the bone around the implant heals in a process called osseointegration. What makes an implant so strong is that the bone actually grows around it and holds it in place. Osseointegration means “combines with the bone” and takes time. Some patients might need to wait until the implant is completely integrated, up to several months, before replacement teeth can be attached to the implant. Other patients can have the implants and replacement teeth placed all in one visit.
  • Finally, it’s time for the placement of the artificial tooth/teeth. For a single tooth implant, your dentist will customize a new tooth for you, called a dental crown. The crown will be based on size, shape, color and fit, and will be designed to blend in with your other teeth. If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made bridges or dentures will be made to fit your mouth and your implants. (Note: The replacement teeth usually take some time to make. In the meantime, your dentist may give you a temporary crown, bridge or denture to help you eat and speak normally until the permanent replacement is ready.)

Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth and are designed to blend in with your other teeth. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years. Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.

After the implant device is inserted into the jaw, a chemical and mechanical bond is formed. The jawbone actually grows into the implant!

If you are interested in dental implants, it’s a good idea to discuss it carefully with Dr. Brogdon first. If you are in generally good health this treatment may be an option for you.