Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sour news about Gummi Bears

It is rare that I let my paid writing and my for fun writing overlap, but this will be an exception. I just finished an article about the effects of sour candies, chews, powders and breath mints on tooth enamel and I just had to share. What I won't share are the photos I saw, because this is mostly a fun blog and the pictures were anything but jolly.

The news on sour candy is anything but sweet.
What a bitter pill to swallow.

Speaking of Jolly Ranchers and Skittles and Warheads and Sweet Tarts, they are powerful little enemies of tooth enamel, especially for young kids with soft dental enamel. What at first seems way too sour to endure can become quite addictive and soon flavor cravers graduate to atomic levels of sourness. What creates all this super sour flavor that makes the ears almost explode? Citric acid - reaching close to the pH level of battery acid in the case of some candies! This power of citric acid and sugar doesn't just cause cavities, it eats away at the enamel and is really destructive. You can't do much to replace enamel once it gets to the Yikes! Stage (not a dental term) except capping or tooth replacement. Not only can these candies, powders, sprays, gels and breath mints (and yes even Vitamin C tablets) damage tooth enamel, they do a number on the soft tissue of the mouth - the inner cheeks and tongue.

So the solution is to brush really well after eating sour stuff, right? Wrong! When the enamel is weakened by eating or drinking citric acid or lemon juice, brushing is the worst thing to do. Any abrasion at that point is going to wear away more enamel. The only thing to do is swish with plain water, which has neutral pH. Or, just give up the sour habit and switch to the flavors of cinnamon, mint or real fruit flavors. If your favorite candy is on the following list, compare the pH in it to water (neutral) and battery acid (!). I don't want to be a sour puss, but when it comes to keeping our dental enamel, we don't want to be X-treme Airheads. 

Acid Levels in Popular Sour Candies 
 Acid (pH) 
 Low = Bad 
Water (neutral) 7.0 
Loss of tooth enamel 4.0 
Spree® 3.0 
Sweetarts® 3.0 
Big Stuff Pacifier® Sucker 3.0 
Sour Gummi Bears® 3.0 
X-treme Airheads® 3.0 
Sour Punch Straws® 2.5 
Shockers® 2.5 
Skittles® 2.5 
Baby Bottle Pop® Powder 2.5 
Brach’s Gummi Bears® 2.5 
Sqwigglies Gummi Worms® 2.5 
Wonka Laffy Taffy® 2.5 
Starburst® 2.4 
Sweet Tarts Shock® 2.4 
Lemon Heads® 2.4 
Mentos® Fruit Chew 2.4 
WarHeads® Sour Rips Roll 2.3 
Lollipop Paint Shop® 2.2 
Zours® 2.2 
Sour Skittles® 2.2 
Airheads® Cherry Chew 2.0 
Wonka Nerds® Grape 2.0 
Now and Later® Cherry Chew 1.9 
Too Tart Extra Sour Goo® 1.9 
Wonka Pixy Stix® Powder 1.9 
Altoids Mango Sours® 1.9 
Wonka Fun Dip® Powder 1.8 
WarHeads Sour Spray® 1.6 
Battery acid 1.0