Have you been noticing a decidedly large amount of candy available at your local stores lately? It’s that time of year – the onset of the holidays. First, our children will be tempted by door-to-door candy collection on Halloween night. (And let’s not pretend we won’t be sneaking a handful ourselves). Then the rest of the year’s holidays will offer an onslaught of other sugary delights. Will you be keeping up with bi-annual dental cleanings for you and your family? Your Mansfield dentists, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris, invite you to brush up on your cavity knowledge before the sugar binges ensue.
Sugar is Only Part of the Cavity Conundrum
Have you ever looked at a child’s Halloween candy haul and said, “that’s enough sugar to keep a dentist in business for a year?” Many people believe that sugar contacting your teeth is the sole cause of tooth decay. Sugar definitely plays a big part in the cause of cavities, but there would be no tooth decay without the bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans. These bacteria feed on sugar, and turn it into lactic acid. Acid is what weakens tooth enamel, and allows tooth decay to happen. Normally tooth enamel, the hardest substance in your entire body, can keep the inner workings of your teeth protected. When sugar-fueled bacteria have their way, however, cavities become imminent.
All Candy is Not Created Equally
Chocolate is the one candy that has the distinction of possibly inhibiting the growth of S. mutans. The American Dental Hygienist’s Association (ADHA) notes that chocolate has a built-in defense mechanism that implicates it less than other candies when it comes to cavities. Additionally, theobromine – found in the cocoa bean – can help to harden tooth enamel. Of course, most of the chocolate bars that will be handed out this Halloween are laced with extra sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, processed peanut butter (made with more sugar) and other ingredients that will do more harm than good to your teeth. Just because something is covered in chocolate doesn’t mean it won’t still be able to compromise your tooth enamel.
To ensure that candy consumption isn’t expediting tooth decay for you or the rest of your family, schedule a dental checkup with Dr. Jones or Dr. Harris. You can reach our Mansfield dentist office at (817) 259-1357. We happily provide comprehensive dentistry to patients from Mansfield, South Arlington, Kennedale, Southeast Ft. Worth, Alvarado, Midlothian, the 76063 zip code, and surrounding neighborhoods.