TEETHBUSTERS: HOW CONCESSION SNACKS DAMAGE SMILES

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MADISON, Wis. (7/17/12) – For many, the movie theater experience isn’t complete
without a trip to the concession stand.  But those sugary, sticky and
butter-laden snacks are scarier than a blockbuster horror flick and play a big
role in tooth damage, staining and cavities, according to the American Academy
of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

Here’s a round up of the best and worst
theater snacks for your teeth from a panel of AACD dental experts including AACD
President Dr. Ron Goodlin, DDS, from Toronto, Ontario, Dr. Colleen Olitsky, DDS,
from Jacksonville, Fla., and Dr. Kellee N. Stanton, DDS, from St. Paul,
Minn.

“Crunching down on an un-popped popcorn kernel is a common cause of
painful dental fractures,” the panel points out.  Each dentist noted that they
have treated patients for broken teeth from popcorn.  “Popcorn husks can also
become lodged between the back teeth and gums, often requiring a course of
antibiotics to clear up the resulting infection after removal.”

While
candy is an obvious offender, some choices are better than others for teeth.
The panel reviewed a variety of favorite movie sweets:

•Sour Candies
(Sour Patch Kids and War Heads) – These candies cause the most damage because
they contain high amounts of citric, fumaric and malic acids, all which cause
damage to tooth enamel.

•Caramels (Milk Duds and Sugar Babies) – The
caramel in these treats is super sticky enabling it to remain on teeth for a
long period of time.  Also, its stickiness can enable crowns or fillings to be
pulled out.

•Fruit and Nut-based Candies – (Raisinets and oston Baked
Beans) – While these may seem like a healthy choice, they are also sticky,
allowing sugar to stick on teeth.

•Candy-Coated Chocolates (M&Ms and
Reese’s Pieces) – Not as sticky as other sweets, the colored candy shell can
stain teeth.

ACID-PACKED DRINKS
Soda is another concession culprit
and carries a one-two punch, according to the AACD expert panel. First, there’s
the high sugar content. Next, and even worse, is the high acidity level which
wears down tooth enamel. Acid levels are ranked on the pH scale where the lower
the number, the more acidic the substance is. Whereas battery acid ranks at 1.0
on the scale, soda ranks near or below a 3 compared to water which ranks at 7.0
(neutral).  It’s not surprising that AACD experts recommend bottled water or
club soda or even opting for a small soda to reduce the damage.

SNACKS
FOR YOUR SMILE
There’s no need to avoid movie candy and snacks altogether
when heading to the movie theater say AACD experts, but look for better
alternatives.

•Dark chocolate is the least processed and closest to the
cocoa bean, which contain tannins, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Each of these
offers a strong antioxidant that benefits the mouth and teeth.

•Pixie
Stix are a candy option the panel agreed on is because they are poured directly
on the tongue, thus avoiding chewing altogether.

•Cheese Nachos from a
purely oral health perspective, are a reasonable choice because the sugar
content isn’t high; they aren’t hard to chew and there’s not much
acidity.

“The reality is that most people will continue to enjoy their
favorite snacks at the theater,” says Dr. Ron Goodlin, AACD president. “Do
yourself a favor and rinse your mouth with a glass of water after indulging in
sweets to wash away sugar and acids; and don’t forget to bring your dental
floss.”

About the AACD

The AACD is the world’s largest non-profit
member organization dedicated to advancing excellence in comprehensive oral care
that combines art and science to optimally improve dental health, esthetics, and
function. Comprised of more than 6,300 cosmetic dental professionals in 70
countries worldwide, the AACD fulfills its mission by offering superior
educational opportunities, promoting and supporting a respected Accreditation
credential, serving as a user-friendly and inviting forum for the creative
exchange of knowledge and ideas, and providing accurate and useful information
to the public and the profession.

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