I love sour candies, like sour gummy worms or Warheads. I control myself and don’t binge on it. I know it’s not the best stuff for me, but I figure I don’t eat it every day. But then my son came home from school the other day and said they were talking in his health class about taking care of their teeth. He said sour candies are the worst thing you can eat for your teeth. Now he is freaking out every time we eat some. So here’s my question: is it true that sour candy can ruin my teeth or is my son overreacting?
Sweet and Sour in Texas
Dear Sweet and Sour,
As a short answer to your question: yes, sour candy could ruin your teeth, over time and in excess.
Candy in general has a high sugar content. Bacteria in your mouth feeds on sugar. That bacteria can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Not all candy are the same, though. For example, some candies have less sugar than others. Dark chocolate and candy with nuts have less sugar than other candy. Sticky candies, like suckers or caramels, are harder to remove from the teeth, so the bacteria has longer to stay on the surface of the teeth. Hard candies can break your teeth.
As for sour candies, it’s a double whammy. They not only have the sugar content to feed the bacteria, but they are also very acidic. The sour flavors are made with high amounts of citric acid. Just like lemons, soda, and other citric foods, too much over a long period of time can lead to a break down of the enamel on the teeth, making them more susceptible to damage and decay.
Does that mean you should never eat your candy again? No. If you are eating your sour candy in moderation, and maintaining a healthy mouth with proper hygiene, including brushing twice a day, flossing every day, and regular dental visits, you can still enjoy your favorite candy every once in a while.
This post is sponsored by Dr. Cummiskey of Generations Dental Care in Enfield, Connecticut.