Does candy cause cavities in teeth?

Growing up we all heard from our parents,” If you don’t want a mouthful of cavities don’t eat candy.”

But is this a true statement or not?

The truth is when you eat candies the resident bacteria in your mouth enjoys the candies as much as you do. The bacteria lives, plays and shares the remaining food you eat. Bacteria in your mouth starts consuming the candies and produces acid as a product. This acid dissolves the enamel of the tooth, which leads to dental decay, or cavities. However, this happens when you eat anything that is a starch or carbohydrate. Bacteria simply love carbohydrates, and candies are no different. Food and snacks such as potato chips, crackers, bread, fruit, peanut butter and pasta have the same effect on your teeth.

So the question is … if all these foods have the same effect, why is it that candy has such a bad reputation. The answer is … candy doesn’t have any nutritional value. It is simply empty calories with no nutritional benefit.

But if you choose to have a piece of candy, or in the spirit of Halloween, let your kids enjoy their hard-earn candies and chocolate … then moderation is the key. Also, it is very important to brush and floss immediately after eating candy and other sweets. Remember it is not candy that will harm your teeth, but the bacterial product that hurts your teeth and causes tooth decay.

So, enjoy your candy …

…just brush and floss immediately after. Wishing everybody a healthy smile!

Dr. Negar Tehrani, DDS
Aura Center for Cosmetic Aesthetic Dentistry
Serving Tysons Corner, Vienna and Great Falls, Virginia

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