The Power of Sour on Your Teeth

Sucking and chewing on sour candy is popular among children, teens, and young adults. Although this seems like a harmful treat, the acid in sour candies weakens and wears away the tooth enamel that is needed for healthy teeth. The erosion can become so severe that tooth loss can be the result.

Warning Signs:
There are warning signs of tooth erosion caused by eating sour candy. One is sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. You may feel a twinge of pain when consuming these types of food or drink. Discoloration is another warning sign. If you see a slight yellow appearance on the tooth surface, this is discoloration. Another warning sign is the transparency of the front teeth appearing along the biting edges. Rounding of the teeth will occur along the surfaces and edges of the teeth. Cracks and roughness will appear along the edges of the teeth. Dents will develop on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. At this severe stage fillings may actually appear to rise up. Finally, the last warning sign is tooth decay caused by the loss of the protective outermost layer of enamel.

How to Protect Your Teeth:
Reduce or eliminate consumption of sour candies. Don't suck or chew sour candies for long periods of time. If you do eat a sour candy, swish your mouth with water, drink milk, or eat cheese afterwards to neutralize the acids. Chew sugar free gum to produce saliva which protects tooth enamel. After eating sour candy or other acidic food or drinks, wait one hour before brushing teeth. Brushing right away increases the harmful effects of acid on teeth. Ask your dentist about ways to reduce sensitivity or minimize enamel loss if erosion has begun. And finally, use fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush to protect your teeth.
--University of Alabama Birmingham School of Dentistry


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