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Movies Can Ruin Your Teeth

It’s finally summer and the big movie blockbusters are making their debuts. Most people enjoy a salty or sweet snack with their movie theater fun, but did you know that many of these yummy treats are some of the hardest ones on your teeth?

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry recently released a list of the worst and best movie theater snacks. Read on for more information on how to choose your movie foods wisely!

Caramels (the hard ones such as Sugar Babies and Milk Duds in particular) are terrible for your teeth. They not only stick to your enamel, breaking it down, but they are also murder on your fillings and crowns. Candy-coated chocolates such as M&Ms or Reece’s Pieces are especially hard on molars, as are fruit shell-coated candies like Skittles. Crunching these candies can crack teeth and molars, and the pieces often become lodged between teeth as well. They are also full of food dyes, which can easily discolor enamel. Sour gummy candies (like Sour Patch Kids) are the most damaging of the candy category. They not only contain sugar, but they are also sticky and high in acid — a perfect storm of tooth decay-causing ingredients.

Soda is one of the worst things you can consume if you want to keep your pearly whites in tip-top condition. The combination of acid and sugar causes bacteria to attack the enamel and break it down. The food coloring found in many types of soda, such as Orange Crush or Coke, can also cause enamel to become discolored.

Popcorn may not seem like a mouth’s worst nightmare, but on many levels, it really is! Popcorn is a carbohydrate, which is basically just a type of sugar. Popcorn not only sticks to teeth and damages enamel, but the kernels can become lodged in between teeth or even crack them when chewed.


Luckily, there are plenty of movie theater snacks which make mouths happy. Some of the best are dark chocolate (lots of antioxidants, doesn’t stick to teeth), Pixie Stix (assuming they are poured directly on the tongue and not left to sit in the mouth — the high acid and sugar in these can definitely cause trouble if not consumed with care!), and cheese nachos (low sugar, not hard to chew, and low acidity).

When it comes down to it, though, you don’t need to avoid your favorite movie theater treats completely. Just eat them in moderation and make sure you grab a bottle of water to drink in the theater when you’re done. A good portion of the potential damage can be avoided with a few simple swishes.

—Dr. Shannon Norman-Kotre, Ann Arbor Dentist


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