By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
It should be no surprise that soda and hard candies are a dentist’s mortal enemy; after all, these sweets are directly linked to cavities and other diseases that destroy smiles. However, it’s not just junk food that causes cavities – even healthy items like citrus fruits, dried fruits, and pickled treats can cause just as much harm!
You see, while sugar is part of the equation when it comes to cavities, the sweet molecule itself does not directly cause them. Instead, the billions of bacteria residing inside of our mouths do! They eat whatever sugar they can get a hold of and produce teeth-rotting acid as a byproduct. This acid draws minerals out of our chompers and wears down our enamel – the hard material that covers and protects teeth. So, in reality, the more sugar we eat, the more acid is produced, and the faster our teeth rot down to soft yellow nubs.
Sure, soda and other candies may contain a ton of sugar, but there are also healthy products high in sugar and acid that can do just as much harm. For example, citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are very acidic, and their fruity juices are particularly harsh on our precious pearly whites. Similarly, pickled foods – like cucumbers, olives, and other veggies – are high in acid as well. Finally, dried fruits aren’t particularly acidic, but these sticky products will get lodged in between teeth and start attracting loads of bacteria.
Wow, who would have thought these healthy foods could actually be so bad for our chops? The good news is that simple acts like brushing your teeth after eating, rinsing your mouth with water, or chewing sugar-free gum with the acid-neutralizing chemical xylitol can soften the blow. And, until anticavity candy becomes more popular, you’ll probably want to stay away from the Halloween stash! As with all good and bad things in life, moderation is key.
Featured image courtesy of Amanda Breann on Flickr. Image of half-eaten apple courtesy of Olga Massov on Flickr.