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Indigestion December

Posted Dec 04 2012 7:22pm

‘Tis the season for family, fun, and sweets! With that, during this season every year the United States goes through over 2 BILLION candy canes [1] !  I know what you’re thinking- that’s A LOT of candy.  It sure is, it adds up to almost 20 billion grams of sugar. While this obviously presents a dental dilemma, Candy canes (Peppermint specifically) may have another side effect: keeping you up at night.

Peppermint while being tasty has an unfortunate side effect of relaxing the gastroesophageal sphincter. This is the little doorway between the stomach and the esophagus which keeps everyone in line. When the doorway relaxes stomach acid leaks into the bottom of the esophagus and causes all sorts of trouble.  This is commonly known as “heart burn” and although it feels like it, the pain is not coming from the heart. That burning is the result of tissue damage because of acid reflux!

                                    [2]

This isn’t to say that no one can enjoy a good ol’ candy cane, just that it should be done in moderation- ESPECIALLY if you already suffer from recurrent heart burn! (Also, please don’t eat 20 billion grams of sugar on your own. That is a whole other conversation entirely.)   Everyone have a safe and fun holiday season!

- Dr.D


[1]  Morse. J. “Interesting Facts About Christmas Candy Canes”. Yahoo.

[2] Healthwise staff. “Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)” University of Michigan Health System. Retrieved from  <http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw142353>

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