The Tooth On: Taffy
Saltwater taffy is a summertime tradition for many family's heading to the coast. May 23rd is known as National Taffy Day. It's not a holiday we like to celebrate, however. Taffy can cause a number of problems including issues with dental work and cavities, and we spend our days battling sugar bugs and what they do to our patient's teeth. In the dental world, taffy is our arch enemy.
Ironically, National Taffy Day happens the same month as Root Canal Awareness Week, which is the second week of May.
What's so special about saltwater taffy?
Did you know there is no real difference between regular taffy and saltwater taffy? In the early 19th century, most candy makers did not add salt to taffy. When candy makers in Atlantic City, New Jersey began adding salt, it was truly a novelty. Now salt is in every type of candy, so in reality, there is no perceivable difference between what you buy at a tourist destination than what you can buy at a local store.
When saltwater taffy was new to the market, dentistry was also very different. It was common to have teeth pulled instead of filled. Now, our goal in dentistry is to save your natural teeth so we usually recommend avoiding sticky sugar candy like taffy that causes cavities.
If you absolutely must have some saltwater taffy this summer, be sure to brush and floss immediately after eating it. And, be extremely careful if you have any dental work such as fillings, crowns, bridges, wires, or orthodontia.