The Real Reason Sour Candy Hurts Your Mouth

Sour candies are a popular treat among people of all ages. Something about the painful burn of the sour coating followed by a sweet rush of flavor is just fun to experience. But have you ever wondered why sour candy hurts your mouth in the first place?

Sour candies get their flavor from the high amounts of acid. According to Wired, citric acid is one of the most common ingredients in these candies. Malic acid is sometimes used to make the tart flavor last even longer in treats. These acids naturally occur in many foods and cause the bitterness of some fruits and vegetables.

Although the acids used in sour candies come from natural sources, too much can be harmful. A few treats will likely cause some temporary discomfort on your tongue that will dissipate quickly. But eating large amounts of sour candy can cause burning and even peeling inside your mouth. This is because acid is corrosive and can break down the delicate tissue in your mouth in large quantities. Ouch!

How to avoid damage from sour candy

Fortunately, you don't need to give up your favorite treats to keep your mouth healthy. When eaten in moderation, sour candies shouldn't cause more than mild discomfort for a short period of time. If you notice peeling on your tongue or sores forming in your mouth after munching on these sweets, cut back on the amount you consume at one time.

If you can't help yourself and end up overindulging (hey, we all do it sometimes) there are a few things you can do to provide your mouth with some relief. Eating or drinking a dairy product can quickly neutralize the pH balance in your mouth and make you feel more comfortable (via Bustle). Swish a mouthful of milk or savor a spoonful of yogurt the next time you go overboard on the sour treats.

If you don't have any dairy on hand, don't worry — your mouth will heal on its own. Try rinsing your mouth with water and be patient. The pain will eventually subside and you can go back to (carefully) eating sour candies again.