The Hard Facts
The Hard Facts About Sour Candies
- In the past 20 years, candies marketed to children have increasingly been of a “fruity” or “sour” variety
- Sour candies are very acidic, with a low pH level (Acid Levels in Sour Candies).
- Some candy is so acidic it can actually burn gums and cheeks.
- Acid weakens and wears away tooth enamel.
- Teeth without protective enamel are prone to tooth decay.
- Each acid attack lasts about 20 minutes.
- Holding the acid in your mouth by prolonged candy sucking or chewing continues the acid attack.
The Signs of Tooth Erosion
- Sensitivity occurs when tooth enamel wears away. You may feel a twinge of pain when consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.
- Discoloration is visible as a slight yellow appearance on the tooth surface.
- Transparency of the front teeth appears along the biting edges.
- Rounding of teeth occurs along the surfaces and edges of the teeth.
- Cracks and roughness appear along the edges of the teeth.
- Dents (known as cupping) develop on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. At this severe stage, fillings may actually appear to rise up.
- Tooth decay is caused by loss of the protective outermost layer of enamel.
How to Protect Your Teeth
- Reduce or eliminate consumption of sour candies.
- Don’t suck or chew sour candies for long periods of time.
- If you do eat a sour candy, swish your mouth with water, drink milk, or eat cheese afterwards to neutralize the acids.
- Chew sugar-free gum to produce saliva which protects tooth enamel.
- After eating sour candy or other acidic foods or drinks, wait one hour before brushing teeth. Brushing right away increase the harmful effects of acid on teeth.
- Ask your dentist about ways to reduce sensitivity or minimize enamel loss if erosion has begun.
- Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush to protect your teeth.