Dentists say battery acid and popular sour candies share a common trait

By: Amelia Cerling Email
By: Amelia Cerling Email

It's a pretty basic known fact of parents that most kids love candy. But did you know that some of that newer sour candy on the market can be incredibly dangerous for your kids teeth?

We explore what some dentists call the very real dangers of acidic candies and drinks.

Dentists say on the pH scale, water sits at 7 and battery acid sits at 1. But they say some sour candies like Warheads and Airheads sit at a very dangerous 1.6 on the scale, and that can have lasting consequences.

Dr. Curt Travis at Menomonie Street Dental in Eau Claire says normal decay of teeth is on the decline these days, because of good brushing habits and fluoridated water.

“Decay is definitely on the downswing,” Dr. Travis says.

But, he adds erosion of teeth from consuming acidic foods, candies and soda is on the rise.

“The research clearly shows that it is the high acid content in these candies that's the biggest problem,” he tells us.

And parents we talked to are shocked that these seemingly innocent candies, are so similar to something so toxic.

“That's very shocking, I mean batteries are something I tell my kids to stay away from and when I hear that they are putting that kind of stuff in the mouth, it's very alarming,” mother of two young children Jennifer Birkholz says.

Dr. Travis says erosion differs from decay in that it wears away the enamel on your teeth. And the teeth of kids between the ages of 6 and 18 are even more susceptible to this erosion.

“Kids, their enamel is still immature, it's more porous and it isn't finished mineralizing yet, so children's enamel is more vulnerable to acidic effects,” Dr. Travis says.

Which means moms like Jennifer, will have to be even more vigilant about what their kids are putting into their mouths.

“Ya know I guess I’ll just have to be more aware of reading labels on candies and which ones I’m OK with letting my kids eat,” Jennifer says.

Dr. Travis adds the longer that candy stays in your mouth, the more acid that attacks your teeth. He advises if you are going to eat the candy or drink the soda, do it quickly and then rinse your mouth with water.

The National Confectioners Association which represents the candy industry says, “Candy is no different than a cracker, slice of bread or cookie when it comes to causing tooth decay. Any food that contains starch or sugar has the potential to cause damage to the teeth, depending upon the frequency of eating these foods and how long they stay in contact with the teeth.”


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