Ask a Dentist

May 14, 2020

Q: How much candy is too much for my teeth?

Jack-o-lantern mug filled with candy corn

A: Most of us know that eating too much candy is bad for our teeth. But, it’s Halloween, and we might go a little wild. When you’re wondering if you've had too much candy and how all that sugar will affect your teeth, you need to know what is going on in your mouth. Knowing what the effects sugar has on your teeth is the first step.

Your mouth is full of bacteria; many of these are beneficial and help your mouth stay clean. But harmful bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars and create acids that wear down your tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hard, protective layer on your teeth. The acids produced by bacteria infections cause cavities, creating a hole in the enamel. If your cavities aren’t fixed, the hole can get bigger and deeper, going into the layers beneath the enamel causing increased sensitivity and pain.

Your mouth is constantly under attack by acids, but don’t worry, your mouth is fighting back. Demineralization caused by acids reduces the minerals in your enamel, while remineralization replaces those minerals and strengthens your teeth. Your saliva plays an important role in this process. Saliva contains proteins and minerals, such as calcium and phosphate, that repairs and builds up weakened enamel while washing away food particles.

The natural replacement of minerals in your mouth can only do so much to protect and repair your teeth. After enjoying candy and other sweets, stimulate saliva flow by chewing sugar-free gum or eating fibrous fruits and vegetables. Also, eating cheese, yogurt and other dairy products that contain calcium and phosphates can help strengthen your teeth.

After you’ve had your fill of Halloween candy, make sure to brush and floss, and don’t make eating so many sweets a habit. Reducing your sugar intake and taking care of your teeth by brushing twice a day, flossing between meals, and visiting your dentist regularly can go a long way to keeping a healthy smile.

If you haven’t had a dentist appointment in the last six months, book an appointment today at either of our Winnipeg locations: St. Vital Centre or Garden City Shopping Centre. We’ll make sure your teeth get a good cleaning after you’ve enjoyed all that candy.