Common Candy-Related Dental Issues Around Halloween

Common Candy-Related Dental Issues Around Halloween

Whether you are young or old, it’s easy to get into the Halloween spirit. It is fun and exciting to dress up and embrace all things scary, but this day is really all about the candy. A child loves the opportunity to walk door-to-door in costume and retrieve candy from those eager enough to pass it out. Adults will walk by a bowl of candy in the office, sneakily grabbing a couple every now and again. Parents may even take some select treats out of the Halloween night’s big haul!

A good bag full of treats is hard to resist. Although the various candies can taste amazing, they often come with a cost: dental problems. A new report found that 35% of Americans have experienced candy-related dental issues. Dentists encourage people to make smarter choices when it comes to which candy they choose to enjoy. Daily or frequent consumption of candy will result in negative consequences for the teeth. According to that new report, the following dental issues may be caused by candy.

Tooth Pain

If candy causes damage to your teeth, fillings, or crowns, you can experience general tooth pain. If you bite into some candy and crack your tooth, it can be extremely painful. A cracked tooth that cracks all the way to the root or nerve can be excruciating and typically requires immediate dental work. 

Chipped Or Cracked Tooth

Not all chips or cracks go all the way down to the tooth’s root. Some people easily chip their teeth on lollipops or other hard candies and don’t fix the chip for months! It is very difficult to chip a tooth and not notice! That said, you can chip part of a tooth while eating and not notice it because it may not hurt. If you don’t address the problem and don’t see a dentist soon after chipping or cracking a tooth, you run the risk of nerve exposure or infection. A cracked tooth loses the outer layer, the enamel, and a cavity can progress at a quicker rate. 

Jaw Discomfort

When you chew hard or sticky candies, you put unnecessary stress on the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). These are the two joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. If you repeatedly chew hard or sticky candies, you may lead to TMJ pain. Plus, hyperextending for opening the jaw wide to eat larger candies can increase general jaw discomfort. 

Teeth Sensitivity

Bacteria in the mouth can metabolize into simple carbohydrates (sugar) and lower the overall pH in the mouth. An acidic environment can erode the enamel on your teeth, which makes them more sensitive to tooth decay. Even if the bacteria doesn’t metabolize into sugar, it can cause sensitivity to other areas without enamel. Your teeth “feel” via tiny tubules in the dentin layer of the mouth. These tubules have fluid in them, and that fluid can expand or contract in response to cold or hot liquids, sweets, or other food items. People with gum recession are typically more susceptible to tooth sensitivity. 

Gum Infection

Although the report didn’t mention gum infection as a dental issue caused by candy consumption, it is a possible outcome. Little pieces of candy can get trapped between the teeth in the gums or in gum pockets, where floss cannot reach and remove the candy. If candy remains wedged under the gums or between the teeth, you can experience cavities or a periodontal abscess, which is a localized gum infection. 

Damaged Fillings Or Crowns

If you eat sticky candy and you have a filling or crown, you run the risk of pulling out a piece of the filling or crown. If the candy does pull out the filling or crown, the sugar from candy can become trapped in the tooth, which can lead to tooth decay. Candy doesn’t directly harm filling or crown material in that way because decay develops differently. Candy typically infects the tooth at the margin of the filling or crown (where the tooth meets the crown or filling).

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