Love Sour Candy? It Could Be Wreaking Havoc on Your Teeth

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
June 28, 2019

A young girl reaching for candy in a candy shop

Sometimes, it’s that combo of sour and sweet that we all crave. And what better place to get it than some yummy sour candy? Unfortunately, though, while you might delight in this treat, it could be wreaking havoc on your teeth.

That’s right: in terms of what foods are good for your teeth and which ones aren’t, sour candy falls into the “bad for your pearly whites” category. But why are these candies so damaging? We’ve got you covered with the answer below.

Your Enamel Hates Sour Candy’s Acidity

Enamel. It’s so important to take great care of it because it’s the tough outer layer of your chompers.

With enamel intact, your teeth may be less prone to decay, and they might also be less prone to sensitivity. Plus, your enamel can help keep your teeth looking white and bright. Put simply, if your enamel is strong, your teeth will also be strong.

The harsh truth, however, is that a lot of foods and beverages that you enjoy every day (like those sour candies you don’t think twice about when you need a little pick-me-up) contain acids that could attack your precious enamel, causing it to become softer and thinner than it should be.

Over time, your teeth might start to feel more sensitive to hot and cold, they might start to look yellow, and they might develop cavities. You may even find yourself considering getting veneers to restore the look of your teeth!

Fun fact - Want to know the pH of sour candy, to really put things in perspective? Well, it depends on the specific candy, of course, but it generally ranges from around 1.6 to 3 (that’s on a scale of 1 being the most acidic, to 7 being neutral). And here’s another interesting tidbit: a pH of 4 would damage your enamel, so you can see just how bad those sour candies really are!

Candy Is Bad Enough, but Sour Candies Could Really Do Damage

Okay, so you already know that candy is bad for your teeth, right? In fact, all types of candy, including hard, sticky, and sour, are considered some of the worst for your pearly whites. This is a real bummer if you consider yourself a candy lover, but it’s important to know the facts so that you can protect your teeth.

Here’s why eating too much candy is a big no-no when it comes to maintaining oral health:

  • Candy contains a lot of sugar. Harmful bacteria in your mouth feed on that sugar, resulting in damaging acid that attacks the enamel of your teeth. And, again, when the enamel is compromised, it increases your risk of decay, sensitivity, and stains. Not good.
  • Sour candy has more acid. These candies might contain acids like malic acid, citric acid, tartaric acid, and fumaric acid. All of that acid ends up eating away at your enamel, so the more sour candy you eat, the worse the effects might be.
  • Sticky candies will remain on your teeth longer. When you chew on sticky candy, whether it’s sour or sweet, it could end up staying on your chompers for a longer stretch of time. A recipe for dental damage, for sure!

Scary fact - Once your enamel is gone, there’s no way for your body to regrow it. So the best thing that you can do is take steps to prevent losing your enamel in the first place.

Smart Ways to Help Limit the Damage

Can’t give up sour candy? No worries! There are some easy ways to help reduce the damage to your enamel.

  • Rinse your mouth with water after having sour candies.
  • Choosing the right candy flavors might be beneficial, as certain sour flavors might be harsher on enamel than others. If cherry, grape, and lemon are your favorites, it may be better to switch to flavors like mint and cinnamon, as they might contain less acid.
  • Even though you might assume that brushing your teeth would be a good way to protect them from the sour candy you just ate, you actually shouldn’t do it right away because your enamel will be compromised. Just wait a minimum of 30 minutes before brushing.
  • See your dentist on a regular basis to check for early signs of decay, to learn about how to protect your enamel, and to get cleanings or whitening treatments to restore the brightness of your teeth.

Think Twice Before Having Those Sour Candies!

A piece of sour candy every now and then should be fine—everything in moderation, after all. But now that you know about the harmful effects that this treat can have on your teeth, you can make smarter choices that could protect your pearly whites for the long run.


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