Candy is well known for feeding cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth and increasing your risk for developing dental caries (tooth decay). Most people know about the risks of eating sweets, but it hasn’t stopped the candy industry from making millions of dollars in sales every year. Although sweets damage your teeth, you can make choices to eat sweets that cause the least amount of damage. Dark chocolate might be the best choice for your teeth, while sour candies cause the most damage.

Why Chocolate?

One of the primary ingredients in chocolate is cocoa beans. These beans contain tannins, which give this confection its rich, bitter taste. Tannins are a double-edged sword in the dental world, because they cause deep staining, but can also make it hard for bacteria to stick to the surface of your teeth. Many recipes also call for cocoa butter, which makes it harder for bacteria to stick and establish colonies. Choosing the right chocolate bars can help you satisfy your sweet tooth with as little damage as possible. Some of the most popular choices contain large amounts of sugar and very little cocoa, making them less than ideal. Darker chocolates usually contain more cocoa. You want to look for options with 60-90% cocoa powder, which you can usually find advertised boldly on the label.

Acidic Sour Candies

Even if you do not like dark chocolate, you can make choices to avoid the sweets that cause the most tooth damage. Sour candies are one of the most acidic options out there, and can badly damage your enamel. The hard enamel layer protects you from decay and staining, but it is not invincible. On the pH scale, used to measure the acidity of a substance, anything lower than a 7 is considered acidic. Lower pH numbers indicate higher acidity. Enamel typically starts dissolving at a pH level of 5.5. Sour candies typically have a pH between 2 and 3, well below the pH at which enamel starts deteriorating. Some sour candy liquids and powders even have a pH as low as 1.6, only 0.6 points above the pH of battery acid.

Prevent and Repair Damage

Fighting the temptation to give in to your sweet tooth is difficult. You can protect yourself from infections, tooth pain, bone damage, and other complications associated with dental caries by scheduling two dental cleanings per year. Professional cleanings allow dentists to spot problems as they develop, and stop them before serious damage occurs. Bad teeth not only endanger your health, but also make you feel less confident in yourself. White fillings and porcelain dental crowns can repair your cavities so that your smile looks natural and healthy. For more information about preventative oral care, please call (509) 581-4188 for an appointment at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics in Spokane.