Easter: Candy Paradise or Dentist Harvest Time?

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As the spring blossoms appear, and warm sunny days begin to welcome the changing season, we can know one thing for certain; it’s time to buy Easter candy.

Of course we know that most people are too concerned about their dental hygiene to buy treats [crickets softly chirping.] However, if one were to partake in such a sugary vice, what would be the best way to go about it? Great question, I’m glad you asked.

The mouth is alive with countless microbiota, including viruses, fungi, protozoa, archaea, and bacteria.[1] Sort of makes your reconsider the custom of kissing, but that’s not the focus of today’s post. The two bacteria that we are most concerned with are lactobacilis and streptococcus mutans. These bacteria are able to consume carbohydrates (sugar) and create acid. They are especially good at surviving in acidic environments, and we believe are the primary cause of dental caries (cavities.)

Every time you consume carbohydrates, these bacteria begin to produce acids, which wear holes into your teeth. [2] This “acid challenge” slowly goes down as it is dissolved by saliva and the sugars are consumed. The best way to reduce tooth decay is to keep the “acid challenge” to the smallest amount of time. 

How to reduce tooth decay

  1. Don’t let carbohydrates sit on your teeth            
    1. Brush and floss after eating, rinse with mouthwash, or chew a sugar free gum
  2. Minimize the amount of time you are exposed to sugars
    1. Sucking on candy or sipping sugar drinks for all day makes for a constant acid attack
  3. Avoid sticky candy
    1. These get in between teeth and tenaciously cling to nooks and crannies

We know you’re going to eat candy. But taking a few small steps can greatly reduce the damage that sweets cause. Happy Spring. 

Dr. Andrew Kennedy DDS

[1] Wade WG, Pharmacol Res. 2013 Mar;69(1):137-43. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2012.11.006. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

[2]Bowen WH. Odontology. 2013 Jan;101(1):2-8. doi: 10.1007/s10266-012-0092-z. Epub 2012 Dec 6

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