Halloween candy and dental cavities – how to stay healthy this Halloween
America welcomes fall and October by lighting bonfires, donning costumes, throwing parties, and trick-or-treating. Yes, we are talking about the festive Halloween season. Candy is an integral part of Halloween and kids and adults enjoy it alike. Candy is delicious, gives instant sugar rush, and acts as a mood booster. Sadly, its disadvantages surpass its advantages.
Candy is full of sugars which are empty calories. They contribute to weight gain, increased blood sugar, diabetes, cellular aging, and a host of dental issues. In this article, we will discuss the harmful impacts of candy on teeth. Let us take a look at how the sugar in the candy leads to dental decay and cavities.
The Ecosystem of The Mouth
- In order to understand the effect of candy on the tooth, it is important to understand the ecosystem and physicochemical reactions taking inside the human mouth. Our mouth is a home for multiple bacteria. Most of them are beneficial and aid in the everyday functions of the mouth.
However, some bacteria are harmful and are responsible for causing cavities. Sugars are their favorite snacks and they feed on them whenever we consume any kind of sugary stuff. The bacteria feed on the sugars and produce acid as a byproduct.
Sugars, Bacteria, and Cavities – What is the Connection?
Sugar acts as a magnet for bad bacteria. There are two major variants of destructive bacteria inside the mouth:
- Streptococcus mutans
- Streptococcus sorbrinus
Both these bacteria feed on sugars and metabolize it. As a result, dental plaque is formed. Plaque is a colorless sticky substance that coats the teeth. If dental hygiene is not maintained, the plaque remains on the teeth and acidifies the mouth’s ecosystem.
- PH level below 5.5 is dangerous for the teeth. The acid starts attacking the tooth’s enamel and wears it off. Enamel is the protective covering that keeps the bacteria at bay. Once the enamel has been corroded, the teeth are exposed to a host of infection-causing bacteria. They eat away at the tooth and form holes which are called cavities. If cavities are not treated on time, they rot away the entire teeth, causing permanent damage in the form of tooth loss.
Demineralization and Remineralization
- Demineralization is the removal of minerals from the tooth’s enamel. It leads to the weakening of the tooth and the wearing of the enamel. Demineralization occurs when plaque is formed and the mouth’s environment turns acidic, leaving the teeth susceptible to dental decay.
Remineralization is the opposite of the above-mentioned process. It is the body’s defense mechanism to keep the mouth healthy and cavity-free. Our saliva is full of beneficial minerals such as calcium and phosphate. Saliva can wash away plaque. It continuously reposits essential minerals on the teeth and fixes the damage done to the enamel.
- Along with that, fluoride is also needed for remineralization and strengthening of teeth. Dentists recommended using fluoride enriched toothpaste and water to repair the damage done to teeth because of acid attacks.
Remineralization repairs most of the damage but recurrent acidic attacks weaken the teeth. The loss then becomes permanent and can only be rectified through dental procedures such as fillings or tooth extraction.
- Demineralization and remineralization are two processes that occur simultaneously inside your mouth. For remineralization to take precedence, you should practice good dental hygiene, consume healthy food and steer clear of harmful sweets.
On this Halloween, eat candy in moderation and don’t forget to brush, floss and gargle regularly. To learn more about general dentistry, visit Icon Dental Center. They have offices in Everett and Seattle.