How Hard Candy Poses a Risk for Tooth Fractures
Every year, during spooky season we get a lot of patients in San Antonio indulging in hard candy cravings. The problem is, we find them sitting in our chair the next day with a toothache.
Candies like Gobstoppers and Jolly Ranchers may taste good, but they can be expensive in the long run. By expensive, we mean the cost of repairing a fractured tooth.
Hard candy is a popular and beloved treat that many of us enjoy indulging in, especially during Halloween. Hard candy is tasty but can harm our teeth by causing fractures.
Hard Candy: A Sticky Situation
The main ingredient in hard candy is sugar – either sucrose or glucose – which provides the sweet taste we all love. This already poses a health risk to your teeth as it is. But the process that makes it sticky and hard can be the nail in the coffin for your tooth.
The sugar syrup mixture is heated until it reaches high temperatures (above 300°F), causing water evaporation and resulting in a concentrated solution that solidifies upon cooling. This is how you get the hardness of a Jolly Rancher, for example.
How Can It Cause Tooth Fractures?
Tooth fractures, also known as cracked teeth, are a common dental problem that can occur due to various reasons. Sugar can damage your teeth by weakening the enamel, making them more likely to break or crack.
There are several ways in which a tooth fracture can occur, but hard candy is a common cause. While it may seem harmless and enjoyable, biting or chewing on hard candy can lead to serious damage to your teeth. This ends up being an expensive visit to a dentist in San Antonio.
When we consume hard candy, our jaw muscles apply pressure to break it down into smaller pieces. This pressure, combined with the hardness of the candy itself, can cause excessive force on our teeth and lead to fractures.
The damage can range in severity from minor craze lines on the surface of the tooth to vertical root fractures and fractured cusps. Often, serious procedures like a root canal or other dental services are necessary to correct the problem.
Moreover, prolonged exposure to sugar from sucking on hard candy can increase the risk of tooth decay and cause other oral health issues.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Statistics and studies have shown that hard candy poses a significant risk for tooth fractures. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), hard candy is one of the top causes of dental injuries in children.
A study published in the Journal of Dentistry found that 17% of dental injuries in children were caused by hard candy. This makes it one of the leading causes of tooth fractures, chipped teeth, and other types of dental trauma.
Furthermore, a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) revealed that 26% of all emergency visits related to dental injuries were due to hard candy consumption.
The reason behind these alarming statistics lies in the nature of hard candies. Most hard candies are made with high levels of sugar and are often very sticky, making them difficult to break down when chewing. This puts excessive strain on our teeth, especially on young developing ones which are more susceptible to damage and gum disease.
Moreover, many people tend to suck or bite on hard candies repeatedly until they dissolve completely. This prolonged exposure to sugar can lead to enamel erosion and weaken the tooth structure over time, increasing the risk of fractures.
It’s not just children who are at risk – adults who regularly consume hard candies also face similar dangers. A survey conducted by The Academy of General Dentistry found that adults who frequently indulge in sugary treats such as hard candies have an increased likelihood of being diagnosed and treated for cavities.
Preventing Tooth Fractures From Hard Candy
We’ve made it pretty clear that hard candy is a delicious treat that many of us enjoy. However, it can also pose a serious risk for tooth fractures if not consumed carefully.
The hard texture and prolonged exposure to sugar can weaken the enamel of your teeth, making them more susceptible to breaking or cracking. Fortunately, there are some tips you can follow to prevent tooth fractures while still being able to indulge in your favorite hard candies.
Go Soft Or Sugar Free
One of the best ways to prevent tooth fractures from hard candy is by choosing softer alternatives such as chocolate or gummies. These options are less likely to cause damage to your teeth since they have a softer texture and do not require prolonged chewing.
If you still want the sweetness of hard candy, opt for sugar-free versions instead. Jolly Ranchers have a zero sugar alternative that taste identical to their sugar-laden counterpart.
Limit Your Consumption
It’s no secret that excessive sugar consumption is bad for our overall health, including our dental health. When it comes to hard candy, moderation is key in preventing all types of cracked teeth. Try limiting yourself to one or two pieces per day and make sure to brush your teeth afterward, along the gum line as well.
Avoid Chewing on Hard Candy
Many people have a habit of chewing on hard candies rather than sucking on them slowly until they dissolve completely. This constant pressure and grinding motion put extra strain on your teeth and increase the risk of something like a split tooth. Instead, try sucking on the candy until it dissolves naturally without biting down on it.
Suffering From A Fractured Tooth?
If you’ve become another victim of a rogue Jolly Rancher, jawbreaker, or other hard candy, schedule an appointment with Dr. Escarsega. The sooner we can treat your tooth depends on how successful our efforts are.Hard candy is tasty but can harm our teeth by causing fractures.