For many kids, their dentist can seem like The Candy Police. Like, what’s the big deal? Why can’t I eat this chocolate bar?
Well, there are numerous reasons to be mindful of sweet stuff, and October marks Orthodontic Health Month. As part of the effort to keep you informed, Dr. Vo and our all-star team at Texas Family Orthodontics will let you know how to handle eating sweet treats with and without braces while maintaining oral health!
We’re Here to Make Healthy Habits Simpler!
Orthodontic Health Month’s primary goal is to raise awareness of healthy orthodontic practices. At Texas Family Orthodontics, we want all of our patients to have the knowledge to keep their mouths healthy, so let’s discuss braces further and then tackle how sweet foods impact dental health in general.
Braces Aren’t Always a Cake Walk!
When we opt to give a patient braces, it can be to address several issues! These are a few of the common ones that might constitute a complete set of braces:
- Cosmetic Improvement
- Correction of Misaligned Teeth
- Bite Function Improvement
- Jaw Disorders
- Oral Health Benefits
- Prevention of Future Issues
- Speech Correction
How Do Sweets Treat Your Smile?
You probably already know that sweets aren’t good for your teeth, but do you know exactly why? It’s actually due to interactions between sugar, acids, and bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria is fed by sugar and is then broken down into acid, which is what causes most of the dramatic damage to the surfaces of our teeth. With or without braces, these are issues you should consider before eating an excess of sweets:
- Cavities are holes in teeth caused when acid manages to penetrate enamel. They can burrow deeper into the layers of your teeth if left untreated, and they get more painful the closer they get to the nerve. It’s vital to get a filling promptly to avoid expansion if you are experiencing persistent pain due to a cavity.
- Plaque formation sits on the tooth’s surface. It’s a layer of bacteria and debris that you usually brush away each day but will build up without constant cleaning. Plaque buildup leads to both decay and potentially gum disease.
- Gum disease is sometimes fueled by sugary foods. The same acids that cause cavities can be abrasive to your gums and can cause gingivitis. This condition requires prompt attention from your orthodontist to ensure it does not become serious.
Being Smart with Sweets
The good news is you don’t have to completely eliminate sweet treats if you have braces, but eating them comes with a whole set of rules you need to be mindful of!
- Brushing and Flossing: You should always brush and floss promptly after consuming candy or desserts. With braces, you should be mindful of brackets and wires while cleaning, as they can trap some of that sugar! Try rinsing your mouth with water if you don’t have a brush on hand.
- No Hard or Sticky Candy: Sticky, tacky, or crunchy treats can be especially problematic to a patient’s braces. Think hard candies, toffee, gum, caramel, and lollipops. These can cause direct damage to orthodontic appliances like braces, particularly in terms of wires being compromised.
- Cut or Break Them Up: Bite-sized pieces can be easier to consume with braces. So, if your treat can be broken up or nibbled on, it can be a smart solution.
- Orthodontic Wax: Having orthodontic wax on the go or at home is always wise for our patients. When braces break, come loose, or have sharp stray wires, wax can help cover the edges to avoid stabbing your gums. This can help hold you over until you can get to Dr. Vo for repairs.
- Limiting Sweets: Assuming you follow these guidelines, moderation of sweets is going to be your secret to success. Try only to eat them occasionally if you must, and avoid sudden large quantities (i.e., at a wedding or on Halloween night).
- Regular Check-Ups: Seeing Dr. Vo for your follow-up appointments is important! Yes, all of them! When you have braces, these visits measure progress and can address any adjustments that need to happen along the way.
- Choosing Wisely: Remember, some sweets do more damage than others. Yogurt, ice cream, and smoothies are usually a smarter way to go because they melt away quickly in your mouth. But for any treat, the best option is to go sugar-free when possible.
Treat Yourself at Texas Family Orthodontics!
Now you know how to be wise during a sugar rush! Texas Family Orthodontics is always available for any further questions you might have and will help address any uncomfortable issues you have from sweets. You can reach our Windcrest and San Antonio offices at 210-256-9697, or you can find us on Facebook and Instagram!