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Home > Dental Conditions > Cavities  > Avoiding Tooth Decay During the Holidays
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Avoiding Tooth Decay During the Holidays

Sugary candy can cause tooth decay.

Everyone enjoys cookies and candies during the holiday season. Although these treats can promote tooth decay, they can still be enjoyed as long as teeth are brushed right after eating. People with dental crowns and dental bridges should avoid sticky treats like caramels, Swedish Fish®, taffy and other candies of similar consistency. These candies can pull off crowns and bridges causing discomfort, inconvenience and even embarrassment.

Dental cavities are an infection caused by a combination of carbohydrate-containing foods and bacteria that live in our mouths. Even though there are many different types of bacteria in our mouths, only a few are associated with cavities. When these bacteria find carbohydrates, they digest them and produce acid. As sugary foods such as candy, sugar frosted breakfast cereals, ice cream, soda, Kool-Aid® and other carbohydrates are eaten, the acid level in the mouth increases.

It is this acid that begins to dissolve the hard enamel that forms the outer coating of our teeth. Every exposure to these foods allows an acid attack on the teeth for about 20 minutes! Some dentists tell their patients to avoid most or all foods that contain a high quantity of sugar to help prevent cavities. This is good advice of course, but the reality is that most people will not follow it. What I recommend is a bit more realistic. If you can avoid sugary foods you should, but if you can't, just make sure you brush your teeth right afterwards.

Another problem with some types of candy is its tendency to stick to certain kinds of dental treatments, such as tooth crowns and permanent bridges. Some types of candy, like gummy bears, caramels, salt water taffy, Swedish Fish, Mary Janes®, Dots®, Mike & Ikes®, jelly beans, bubble gum and others will not only promote cavities, but can also pull off crowns and bridges. It is easy to forget and indulge in these tempting treats, which is why I always see an increase in loose or pulled out crowns and bridges from Halloween until Christmas. I recommend that anyone who has one or more crowns or bridges avoid all sticky candy, and brush right after eating carbohydrate and other sugar containing foods.

It's never too late to improve your dental health. Call us at 1-866-970-0441 to find the right dentist for you!

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