We’ve all been taught since a very young age that candy is the ultimate destroyer against teeth. However, new candies developed by scientists are turning that old story around. Now, there are several new candies (along with some older) that have beneficial attributes.
Scientists in Berlin have recently created candy that contains good bacteria that fights against certain cavity-building bacteria. The main bacteria that cultivate in your mouth and eats away at the surface of your teeth, dissolving enamel and creating cavities, is a bacterium called Mutans streptococci. Scientists have found that a different bacterium called Lactobacillus paracasei is able to fight against and reduce the levels of the bad bacteria in the mouth. In a study testing different levels of the good bacteria in pieces of candy compared to a control group with normal candy, scientists were able to reduce the levels of Mutans streptococci by 75% in the groups with good bacteria candy compared to the control. You can find the full study published in the Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins.
Though that candy might significantly help your teeth, you probably won’t find it in the sweets aisle anytime soon. However, there are other candies, available today, that are definitely better for your teeth than others. If you are to eat candy, here’s the kind we recommend.
While most chewing gums can hurt your teeth by allowing harmful sugars and acids to build in your mouth while consistently chewing, there are actually a few good chewing gums. Recently the ADA has approved certain gums for their beneficial elements to teeth. Most importantly, all ADA approved chewing gums are sugarless and sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or sorbitol. These gums are able to increase the flow of saliva without creating a harmful environment for your teeth. In fact, the increased flow of saliva can help flush away previous acids and debris. Look for an ADA seal on the gum to be sure you’re chewing the right kind.
Similar to the ADA-approved chewing gum, sugar-free candies help increase the flow of saliva, which can actually flush out the mouth of bad bacteria and help prevent cavities. If you need a hard candy, we wouldn’t recommend anything other than sugar-free. However, be aware that these candies can still hurt your teeth if you bite down on them, so make sure to consume the candy slowly and save your teeth from unnecessary damage.
Though dark chocolate is loaded with sugar, and not the best your teeth, enough studies have shown that the candy contains a rich amount of antioxidants that are good for the rest of your body, especially your heart. Sometimes it’s okay to sacrifice a minute of sugar in your mouth for the rest of your body. Just follow our advice as to how to consume sugar and you should be fine.
Of course, there are plenty of candies you can choose that are terrible for your teeth. Chewy candies and sour candies are definitely the worst as they can get caught in your teeth for days between the backs of molars. As well, they contain high levels of acid that can quickly break down tooth enamel and produce cavities. Avoid these candies at all costs.
Remember, the best defense to fight those bad bacteria and preventing cavities is practicing proper oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. You’ll find that a little piece of candy every so often won’t be the worst thing in the world. Just be careful, though Water Tower Dental loves to see all of our patients’ smiling faces as often as possible, but we hate when we have to inform them of cavities. Keep your teeth clean and your smile bright.