Gummy candies are a treat that millions of children and their parents love. Unfortunately, they are also one of the worst candies for your teeth. Here’s a closer look at why gummy bears, gummy worms and even gummy vitamins can be a poor choice for your teeth.
Gummy Candies and Your Teeth
The bacteria in your mouth go to work immediately when you eat gummy candies. These bacteria set off a chemical reaction that turns the sugars into an acidic form. The acid then eats away at the enamel of your teeth. This chemical process on your teeth is called demineralization. Eventually, eating gummy candies can lead to cavities and an expensive trip to the dentist.
These chewy candies also stick to your teeth, which can cause another problem: anytime something is stuck to your teeth, it prevents the saliva from coming into contact with that area. Your saliva works to neutralize acids created from sugars and it also helps to remineralize your teeth. So, when you enjoy that gummy bear, you should know that it is creating an acidic pocket between your teeth. Your mouth’s natural defenses to the acidic process can’t do anything about it, which speeds up the breakdown of the enamel.
Additional Dental Problems from Gummy Candies
Wearing away the enamel on your teeth causes more than just cavities. A lack of enamel makes it easier to crack or chip a tooth. Enamel also acts as insulation for your teeth. If the enamel is reduced too much, it can make your teeth extremely sensitive to hot and cold foods.
Gummy candies are also on the list of foods that people with dental crowns should avoid entirely. The candies can stick to the crown and accidentally pull it loose, which would mean another trip to the dentist.
You might think that gummy vitamins are more healthy than gummy candies, but they have many of the same problems. Gummy vitamins contain between four and seven times as much sugar as a regular multivitamin.
Healthy Alternatives to Gummy Candy
- Dark Chocolate: If you’re one of those people who absolutely needs candy (or wants it really, really badly), you can’t go wrong with dark chocolate. This is actually one of the best candies for your teeth. Several studies have shown that dark chocolate is better at fighting tooth decay than fluoride. Dark chocolate also has an antibacterial effect that fights plaque.
- Candies with Xylitol: Xylitol is a sugar replacement that makes a healthier alternative for your teeth. You can find lollipops and other candies made with this sugar substitute. The bacteria don’t recognize xylitol, so they don’t attack it and turn it into acid like they do with sugars.
- Candy Bars with Nuts: Any candy that is sticky, such as gummy candies, is bad for your teeth. Candy bars with nuts, however, break up the acids created by the sugars. They’re also a good source of protein.
All the advice above doesn’t mean you have to avoid gummy candies completely. You can still enjoy them if you approach them the right way. Have a few of them for a snack and then immediately brush your teeth. Don’t eat the whole bag in one sitting. And finally, don’t snack on gummy candy throughout the day, because this keeps a constant supply of acid eating away your tooth enamel.