Halloween Sugar & Your Teeth

With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to consider the repercussions of candy on teeth. Even if COVID-19 keeps many Trick-or-Treaters off of suburban streets, grocery store racks are stock full of bags of sugar-laden snacks. Newsweek recently posted the results of a study which shows that most American toddlers eat more than the recommended sugar intake for adults. But sugar tempts people of all ages, not just children and teens: 

  • 99% of children aged between 19 to 23 months eat over seven teaspoons of added sugar each day on average. (That’s the equivalent of one Snickers’ bar.)
  • 200 years ago, the average American ate only 2 pounds of sugar a year. 
  • In 1970, we ate an average of 123 pounds of sugar per year. 
  • Today, the average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in one year. (This is equal to 3 pounds (or 6 cups) of sugar each week!) 

Ways We Consume Sugar

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the leading sources of added sugars in the US diet are sugar-sweetened beverages, grain-based desserts like cakes and cookies, candy, and dairy desserts like ice cream. But we not only add processed sugar to baked goods as well as coffee and tea, as Americans, we unwittingly consume it in many forms – such as in fast food, prepackaged items and processed condiments like ketchup. 

Why We Love Sugar

People are born with an innate desire for all things sweet. Even during infancy, newborns prefer breast milk to formula because of its sweetness. What’s more, in nature, toxic foods tend to taste bitter, while safe foods are sweet. So, some theorize that evolution has steered us away from sour in favor of things that are sweet. Others point to blood sugar as the culprit. Consider, for example, that eating candy bars prompts a dopamine hit, almost like a drug. The rush is immediate, which is why you’re more likely to crave a candy bar at 3 p.m. than an apple or a carrot, which afford a less immediate “high.”

Why You Should Avoid Sugar

What Sugar Does to the Body

Research suggests that swallowing excessive amounts of sugar is just as dangerous for kids as it is for grown-ups. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that kids age one and older should, like adults, should derive less than 10% of their daily calories from sugar. 

  • Acne
  • Asthma 
  • Can Cause Kidney Disease
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Causes Weight Gain and Obesity
  • Depression
  • Drains Energy
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol 
  • Increases Cellular Aging
  • Increases Risk of Developing Gout
  • Leads to a Fatty Liver
  • Leads to Type 2 Diabetes
  • May Accelerate Cognitive Decline
  • Prematurely Ages the Skin
  • Rots Teeth

What Sugar Does to Teeth

Harmful oral bacteria feed on the sugars we eat to create acids that destroy tooth enamel. When sugar is consumed, it interacts with the bacteria within the plaque to produce acid. This acid leads to tooth decay because it slowly dissolves the enamel, creating holes (or cavities) in the teeth. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth every day, you’re inviting bacteria to damage your oral health by feasting upon the sugar left on your teeth. Establish a consistent oral healthcare routine to curb the effects of bacteria on your teeth and promote a bright and healthy smile! Also, see your dentist regularly. 

So, this Halloween, resist the urge to rush out and buy and consume discounted candy. Nothing is as sweet as a beautiful smile!

About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora, California

Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999. 

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