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Your Smile

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Whether you’re sampling bright jelly beans with your children or popping a minty stick of chewing gum before a kiss, smiles often come after sweet moments.

Learn about the effect of sweets on your sense of well-being and their role in oral health.


Sweet Truths:

You Can Eat Candy and Still Protect Your Teeth

Eating any food that contains starch or sugar can lead to tooth decay. It all just depends on how often you eat these foods and how long they stay on your teeth. The best way to keep your teeth strong is to:

  • Brush frequently—at least twice each day.
  • Use fluoride products as recommended by your dentist.
  • Floss regularly.
  • Rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free gum after each meal or snack.
  • Visit your dentist twice a year.

References: Protecting Your Teeth

It’s Best Not to Brush Right After Eating Sour Candies

Because sour candies are acidic—it’s what gives them their special tartness—it’s best to rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar free gum after you enjoy them to avoid any abrasion to tooth enamel.

References: Sour Candies

Chewing Sugar-Free Gum Can Help Prevent Tooth Decay


Another way to help protect your teeth is to chew sugar-free gum. Most chewing gum on the market contains common sweeteners such as xylitol, manitol, sorbitol, and other sugar alcohols that can help prevent tooth decay. In fact, the American Dental Association has awarded its Seal of Acceptance to some sugar-free gums for their role in preventing dental caries (cavities).

References: Preventing Tooth Decay


How can you fit candy and gum into a healthy lifestyle? See our guides in How to Treat Right.





Protecting Your Teeth

  • Kashket S, Zhang J and Van Houte J.  Accumulation of Fermentable Sugars and Metabolic Acids in Food Particles That Become Entrapped in the Dentition.  J Dent Res. 1996 [November]; 75(11): 1885-1891.
  • Kashket S, Van Houte J, Lopez LR and Stocks S. Lack of Correlation Between Food Retention on the Human Dentition and Consumer Perception of Food Stickiness.  J Dent Res. 1991; 70:1314-1319.


Sour Candies

  • Wiegand A., Köwing L., Attin T., “Impact of brushing force on abrasion of acid-softened and sound enamel,” Arch. Oral Biol.. 52, (11 ), 1043 –1047 (2007). 0003-9969
  • Voronets  J., Lussi  A., “Thickness of softened human enamel removed by toothbrush abrasion: an in vitro study,” Clin. Oral Invest.. 14, (3 ), 251 –256 (2010). 1432-6981


Preventing Tooth Decay

  • Gibson S, Williams S. Dental caries in pre-school children: associations with social class, toothbrushing habit and consumption of sugars and sugar-containing foods. Further analysis of data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of children aged 1.5-4.5 years. Caries Res. 1999; 33 (2): 101-13.
  • American Dental Association. Available from: