Stay Away from Sticky!

Did you know that the texture and consistency of your food has an impact on the health of your teeth?  It’s true.  Crunchy vegetables (like raw carrots and celery) can actually clean plaque away from the teeth, making them a great healthy snack choice.  In contrast, sticky foods that contain simple carbohydrates are a bad snack choice.  They can lead to new cavities or pull out old dental work.  We will elaborate in this week’s blog as to why you should stay away from sticky foods.

Sticky Foods Increase Your Risk for Cavities

One of the most important factors in the development of cavities is time.  That’s right: time.  Someone who sips on a single Dr. Pepper over the course of their afternoon work, exposing their teeth to sugar for three to four hours, has a greater chance for cavities than someone who drinks three sodas in quick succession over a very short period of time.

The amount of time that we expose the teeth to simple carbohydrates is directly related to the risk for cavities.  And it is that factor of time which makes sticky foods such a bad snack choice.

A great example is raisins.  Many parents think raisins are healthy for their kids, but they are packed full of sugar.  Their sticky texture means that the sugar in raisins stays in the deep grooves of the biting surfaces of teeth for a long time.  Some are so sticky that they can even resist removal with brushing.

And of course, this applies to candy as well.  No candy is “good” for you, but there are certainly some candies that are worse than others.  Those candies that stick to the teeth are the worst.  They provide a continual sugar supply to the cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.

Sticky Snacks to Avoid:

  • Raisins
  • Gummy fruit snacks
  • Fruit Roll-ups
  • Chewy granola bars
  • Caramels
  • Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Roll Pops
  • Laffy Taffy and Starburst type candies
  • Chewing gum that contains sugar
  • Twizzlers and licorice
  • Skittles
  • Gummy bears
  • Sugar Daddies/Sugar Babies
  • Snack bars containing honey, molasses, or other sticky sweetener

Sticky Foods Increase Your Risk for Dislodging Dental Work

The sticky nature of many foods can actually dislodge your dental work.  Most dental work should not come out so easily, but if you subject it to constant sticky, pulling forces, you can break the bond between the dental restoration and your tooth.

This is very common in children with dental sealants.  Sealants are a protective coating placed over the grooves in the chewing surfaces of teeth.  They seal out sugar and plaque, and they help prevent cavities from forming.  Many dental sealants have fallen prey to the sticky pull of candies like Laffy Taffy.  The problem is that once the candy pulls off the sealant, the candy itself fills in those newly-uncovered deep grooves, making cavities there very likely.

Some have pulled out both silver and tooth-colored fillings with sticky snacks.  Again, this shouldn’t happen with well-placed fillings, but they can only withstand so much vertical pulling force.

Crowns are notorious for coming off with sticky foods, especially sticky chewing gum.  When a dental crown comes off, the underlying tooth may be quite painful.  It is at risk for both decay and orthodontic shifting.

Help!  I Pulled Out My Dental Work with Sticky Candy.  What Now?

If any of your dental work dislodges, it is important to call Dr. Chowning immediately for replacement.  Losing any dental work exposes the underlying tooth structure and puts it at a higher risk for new decay to develop.  It may also cause sensitivity or pain.

If it is not painful or sensitive, don’t delay.  The teeth can shift quickly, causing you to “lose” the space for the restoration, making replacement difficult.  For example, if you have zero pain, so you delay making an appointment with the dentist for several months, the tooth may shift so far that your dentist cannot simply re-cement the existing dental crown into place over the tooth.  A new crown will be necessary after reshaping of the shifted tooth.

More Questions about Foods to Avoid?

Call Timberlake Dental to schedule a visit with Dr. Chowning or one of our wonderful dental hygienists.  We can answer any question you may have about food choices that are healthy for your teeth.


Tags: , , , ,