Spooky Sugar Facts from Your Livonia Dentist

Tomorrow is Halloween, and today, fittingly enough, happens to be National Candy Corn day. Perhaps Candy Corn deserves its own day, considering the fact that those orange, yellow, and white kernels of super sweetness are the top selling Halloween candy.  All told, an estimated 600 million pounds of Halloween candy are purchased each year in America. Have you ever looked at a child’s trick-or-treating haul and had a sudden toothache from the visual association? Yes, candy and dentistry go hand-in-hand in some people’s minds – veritable devils and angels on a child’s costumed shoulders.  Livonia dentist, Dr. James R. Stewart, offers some facts about candy, both good and bad.

Children Know That Sugar Causes Tooth Decay

What’s more…they don’t like it. In fact, according to a questionnaire from the American Dental Association (ADA) in partnership with PopCap games (the creators of Plants vs. Zombies) children would prefer to receive a new video game over candy. Kids expressed their awareness of candy’s contribution to cavities, according to the study. They agreed that they probably eat too many sweets, and were concerned about how it affected their dental health and their overall health.

Sugar isn’t the Direct Cause of Cavities

What most children probably don’t realize is that exposing teeth directly to sugar isn’t the full story of tooth decay. Sugar certainly can’t claim innocence when it comes to contribution to cavities. However, the process is a bit more complicated than simply chomping on sweets. Bacteria in your mouth called Streptococcus mutans can’t cause much damage to your teeth without the help of their favorite food – sucrose (aka sugar). These clever bacteria are able to convert sucrose into enamel-damaging lactic acid. Your tooth enamel is the strongest substance in your entire body, and when all cylinders are firing, your teeth are protected. Unfortunately, acid softens tooth enamel for a period of time, allowing bacteria to start the process of eating away at your teeth, i.e. tooth decay.

A Few More Candy Facts

  • In the week surrounding Halloween, approximately 90 million pounds of chocolate are purchased in the US.
  • Though it’s wise to limit all sugar consumption, candy only accounts for 6% of the sugar we eat. Juice and soda can be implicated much more as cavity creators, accounting for 46% of added sugar in the American diet.
  • Theobromine, found in chocolate, actually hardens tooth enamel.

Dental Checkups in Livonia

Don’t forget to keep up with those dental checkups every six months, especially this time of year. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Stewart today by contacting our Livonia dental office at (734)425-4400. We gladly serve patients from Livonia and the surrounding 48151 area, Farmington Hills, Farmington, Plymouth, Northville, Novi, Dearborn Heights, and Dearborn.