Easter means many things to different families everywhere, but one thing that remains consistent is the appearance of candy! Whether it’s hidden in eggs or just passed around, it is definitely part of the celebration. Sweets make for some excellent treats, and there is no reason not to indulge (in moderation of course)! However, all candies are not created equal, and it may be worth knowing which ones you can have relatively guilt free, and which could spell trouble for your wonderful smile.
When it comes to Easter indulgences, chocolate may make it onto the nice list – we know, this is great news to many of you. The less forgiving candies are the ones that make that all-too-familiar CRUNCH! Hard candies, like lollipops or jolly ranchers, can be a tempting treat to bite. At best, they pack pieces of sugar into hard to reach grooves of your teeth. Saliva can have a difficult time breaking down those sugars and they remain there for long periods of time. Worst case scenario is that crunch sound includes a sharp pain followed by a broken tooth, and sends you straight from your Sunday activities into our office. We do love seeing our patients, but not at the expense of their healthy smile! This happens more often than you think. Some who are prone to absentmindedly crunching on ice have discovered the dangers of biting down on those crunchy munchies. Teeth that have fillings in them are at even greater risk of fracture. They are weakened by the restoration. The larger the filling, the greater the fracture risk. Your teeth are durable for normal eating and chewing, but anything that causes too much stress runs the risk of chipping, cracking or breaking one of your pearly whites. Before you try to impress your friends with breaking that jaw breaker in half, remember that it earned that name for a good reason.
Even if you resist that satisfying crunch, there are still a few other points of concern for hard candies that you don’t run into with other options (like chocolate!). Hard candies that you suck on tend to spend a long period of time in your mouth. During this time, plaque on your teeth will turn that sugar into acid. This acid can be very concentrated and build up quickly while that candy slowly dissolves. This can be a quick way to damage the enamel. Consider this next time you find yourself unwrapping that tootsie pop, an after-meal mint or even one of those little Altoid mints. Perhaps you (or your child) might enjoy a stick of sugar free gum instead. It’s not often that the solution for a sweet treat is yet another sweet treat, but you’re in luck. This time it is! The increased saliva produced while chewing gum can actually help dislodge and break down the remaining sugar in your mouth. Saliva is nature’s way of buffering and neutralizing those nasty acids that plaque produces. It does NOT replace your toothbrush and floss, but it is still helpful.
Overall, we don’t want to take the enjoyment out of candy-filled holidays. Enjoy your time with your friends and family, and definitely don’t be afraid to pop open that plastic egg and see what treats hide inside. If you do find yourself going crazy for the crunchy candies, we hope this information will help you make smart choices. If things do go wrong, you always have your friends at Stumpf Dental to repair the damages. Happy Easter everyone.
Dr. Janelle Stumpf
N28 W23000 Roundy Drive
Pewaukee, WI 53072
Phone: (262) 955-8970