A recent study by Shiny Smiles Veneers revealed a staggering 35% of Americans have experienced candy-related dental problems. Kristin Lenz Galbreath, DMD, of Union Grove Family Dental in Wisconsin, emphasizes moderation, warning against daily and frequent candy consumption due to potential adverse dental effects.
Here are six primary candy-related dental issues everyone should be aware of during the Halloween season:
- Teeth Sensitivity: Simple carbs (sugar) consumed can lower the mouth’s pH, leading to enamel erosion and consequently, tooth sensitivity and decay. Amy Sliwa Lies, DDS, explains that teeth ‘feel’ through the dentin layer, which reacts to various stimuli, causing sensitivity.
- Tooth Pain: Damage from candy can harm teeth, fillings, and crowns, leading to discomfort. A tooth cracked into its nerve or root can be particularly painful.
- Damaged Fillings and Crowns: Sticky candies can dislodge fillings or crowns. Meanwhile, hard candies can crack them or lead to tooth decay at the edge where the tooth meets the filling/crown.
- Chipped or Cracked Teeth: These often remain unnoticed until they begin to hurt due to cavities or nerve exposure, leading to more intensive treatments later on.
- Jaw Discomfort: Hard and sticky candies can strain the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). Continuous candy chewing can result in pain and inflammation.
- Gum Infection: Candy remnants can get lodged under the gums, potentially leading to localized infections.
The report also highlighted the candies most hazardous for dental health:
- Jawbreaker, Jolly Rancher, Bit-O-Honey, Starburst, Tootsie Roll, Laffy Taffy, Snickers, Atomic Fireball, Butterfinger, Blow Pops, and Milk Duds.
Parents particularly despise Jawbreakers, and dentists concur, cautioning against hard and sticky candies that can cause significant dental damage. Consistently sucking on candies can also lead to prolonged periods of lowered pH in the mouth, making teeth more susceptible to decay.
The candies most commonly stuck in American teeth include Laffy Taffy, Bit-O-Honey, Tootsie Roll, and Salt Water Taffy, among others. The longer the candy remains in the mouth, the greater the risk of enamel erosion due to the sustained lowered pH.
So, while indulging this Halloween, remember to enjoy candy in moderation, and always be mindful of its potential impact on dental health.