Candy canes are sweet treats that can be hung on your tree for decoration. They are most commonly red and white cane-shaped candy sticks, but they come in a variety of colors, shapes, and flavors. As we celebrate National Hard Candy Day on December 19, remember to be careful with your holiday treats, and visit Dr. Locke to help protect your teeth.
Hard candy is, well, hard. This type of candy is usually meant to be sucked on so you can taste the flavor until the piece dissolves. Your teeth are not designed to crush through hard candy. Forcing your teeth to break the candy cane puts pressure on your teeth that could cause them to crack, chip, or fracture. You don’t want a broken smile for those holiday photos.
It’s also important to remember that candy canes contain sugar. Frequent exposure to candy canes can cause the sugar to stick to your teeth, giving the damaging bacteria in your mouth something to thrive off of. Candy canes are also a little sticky, so the sugar can be difficult to completely scrub away. When the sugar builds up, it can contribute to plaque and tooth decay.
Candy canes do have one oral benefit. The two most common candy cane flavors are peppermint and cinnamon. Both of these have strong scents that can help cover up bad breath. Peppermint spices help prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus to leave your breath minty fresh. Compounds in cinnamon have abilities to fight odor that causes bad breath, and kill bacteria to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. While candy cane flavors won’t cure bad breath, it can leave a good flavor in your mouth and help mask any bad smells.