View Full Version : "Extreme Sour" Candies are an Acid Bath for Your Teeth

04-20-09, 11:00 AM
"Extreme Sour" Candies Are an Acid Bath for Your Teeth

While many enjoy the taste, a new generation of highly acidic sour candies combines sweet and sour ingredients that are particularly destructive to teeth. Described on packages as "sour," "tart," "tangy" or "mouth-puckering," these candies contain acids at levels approaching battery acid, leading to a host of potential oral health problems. In one recent study in the journal Northwestern Dentistry, more than 25 varieties of these sour candies had pH levels low enough to cause enamel loss. (For a list of the candies and their pH levels, go to www.mndental.org/ (http://link.dhn.bottomlinesecrets.com/r/LRG0I2/HDOCL/80TWS/KQ240/XH63K/OS/h/).)


"I call this an 'acid blast in a sugar bath,' " said Erika B. Feltham, a registered dental hygienist and member of the California Dental Hygienistsí Association (CDHA), which has issued a national warning about the dangers of sour candy. Itís a double-whammy, she says, noting that "not only is enamel destroyed -- but the teeth are instantly exposed to sugar when people eat these candies."
According to Feltham, these candies contain varying amounts of numerous acids, including citric, malic, tartaric, lactic, fumaric, adipic, phosphoric and ascorbic acid. All of these acids can cause dental demineralization, depending on the concentration and combination -- some kinds contain different acid combinations and concentrations that increase the damage potential even further. Erosion of teeth enamel occurs at pH levels of 5.5 and below. "These sour candies contain acids with a pH ranging between 1 and 5 (the lower, the worse)," says Feltham, who has spent more than 10 years studying this issue. Important: Feltham warned that many of these acids are disguised on ingredient labels as "fruit juice concentrates," "fruit juice purees," "natural juice extracts" or "natural vitamin C." Sour candies are available under different brand names and come in a variety of forms, including hard, soft, gummy, chewy, foams, sprays, gels, powders, liquids, crystals and chewing gums.
I wondered whether citric fruits pose the same sort of risk. Felthamís response: Each type of fruit contains usually one kind of acid, which varies -- citric, malic, tartaric. Any of these could be damaging if the fruit (say a lemon or lime) was sucked on for a period of time, but thatís not usually the case. People tend to eat fruit quickly, while candy is often consumed more slowly, exposing teeth to the acid over a longer time.


When consumed on a regular basis, the highly acidic candies can cause erosion, cavities, tooth sensitivity, soft tissue sensitivity, mouth sores, loss of shine and increased staining. They may be okay occasionally but not as a daily treat, says Feltham. "Itís the exposure time and frequency that has cumulative, permanent damaging effects on our teeth," she explained. The stickier and gummier candies are worst of all, as they remain on the teeth longer, often getting stuck in pits and grooves and between teeth.
If you must have it at all, Feltham recommends keeping this kind of candy to a very occasional treat and rinsing your mouth with water immediately after consuming them. Surprisingly, brushing your teeth afterward is not advisable -- Feltham warns that the toothbrush will scratch the tooth surface, since the acids soften tooth enamel, so wait at least 30 minutes. You might instead try diluting and neutralizing the acid from the candy by eating a square of cheese or using a mixture of baking soda (one teaspoon) and water (about a cup). Swish around and rinse. These are ways to get your saliva back to its normal pH as quickly as possible -- then brush later.

Erika B. Feltham, RDH, is a dental hygienist with almost 20 years in general family practice and 10 years periodontal. She is the 2008 Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division/American Dental Hygienistsí Association Hygiene Hero honoree (only one of nine American dental hygienists honored in 2008).

Daily Health News
April 20, 2009
www.bottomlinesecrets.com (http://www.bottomlinesecrets.com)

04-20-09, 11:01 AM
I had never even thought of this hurting teeth other than the sugar.

04-20-09, 11:55 AM
It wasn't easy to find the list. Go here: http://tinyurl.com/63ug9f
Click on the link in the second bullet to dl a PDF containing the list. You'll be amazed!

04-20-09, 12:33 PM
Gasp! Starburst is pH 2.4! (Battery acid is 1.0, loss tooth enamel starts at 4.0).
I have had a Starburst on occasion, and didn't think it was that sour.

Thanks, Islander!

This is a must for forum members with candy-eating families-especially children!

04-21-09, 01:29 AM
Mmmm I love sour. Buut those things make my teeth feel weird (this would be why) so I just stick with eating lemons instead. Probably just as bad, but at least they're natural.

Yum, lemon.