For most of us, October means pumpkin patches, cool breezes, and hoarding candy—which can have spooky dental consequences! It’s a fitting time of year for Orthodontic Health Month.
Our dynamic duo of Dr. Sarah and Dr. B at Sycamore Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry want to let you know how to handle eating sweet treats with and without braces while maintaining your general oral health!
Happy, Healthy & Helpful
Orthodontic Health Month is an annual observance that raises awareness around the education and enforcement of good oral hygiene habits. Sycamore Orthodontics wants you to know how to treat your teeth sweetly. So let’s get started!
Braces Aren’t Scary!
Sycamore Orthodontics is happy to offer Invisalign for kids, teens, and adults in addition to traditional clear or metal braces. It can be a big change in a patient’s lifestyle, but we’re here to help the initial transition and long-term treatment go smoothly. If you are wondering about why we might want to give you braces, here are a few common reasons:
- Overall Oral Health Benefits
- Prevention of Future Issues
- Bite Function Improvement
- Jaw Disorders
- Correction of Misaligned Teeth
- Speech Correction
- Cosmetic Improvement
Sugar Can Be Sneaky
When sugar, acids, and bacteria combine, you’ll run into trouble! Sugar promotes bacteria, and bacteria break down into acids that encourage decay in our teeth. You can find yourself facing things like cavities, gum disease, or plaque formation if you choose to eat too much sugar, and this can be even worse for those with braces.
The good news is you don’t have to go cold turkey on sweet treats if you have braces, but you do have to be extra mindful of what you eat and how you eat it!
- Brushing and Flossing: The components of braces, such as brackets and wires, can easily trap sugar particles, making it essential to clean your teeth after indulging in treats. We also highly recommend rinsing your mouth with water if you don’t have immediate access to a toothbrush.
- No Hard or Sticky Candy: While caramel apples are a fall staple, some snacks pose greater risks to your braces. Treats containing caramel or toffee can potentially lead to significant problems with your wires. Additionally, hard candies can be problematic because they melt away slowly, exposing your teeth to sugar for an extended period.
- Limiting Sweets: Consider establishing a routine to moderate your consumption of sweets. You could restrict them to just one or two meals per week or establish specific guidelines for yourself to make it more manageable to resist temptation.
- Regular Check-Ups: When you have braces, follow-up appointments are a way for us to determine the progress of your treatment. It’s a good time for Dr. B or Dr. Sarah to make any adjustments or repairs you might need to be done for a more effortless experience.
- Orthodontic Wax: It’s wise to keep orthodontic wax readily available when you have braces. Suppose your orthodontic appliance experiences damage, becomes loose or has protruding wires caused by a candy-related incident. In that case, this wax can serve as a temporary solution to shield irritation until we can address it in the office.
- Choosing Wisely: When it comes to treats, the ideal choice is opting for sugar-free options, including foods and candies sweetened with sugar alternatives like xylitol or erythritol. However, it’s worth noting that some sweets are more braces-friendly than others!
Sweets That Treat You With Kindness
Just because you get braces doesn’t mean all sweet treats are off the table! Thankfully, there are some delicious options that you can opt for with or without braces that contain significantly less sugar than other popular dessert items—but can still satisfy that sweet tooth! Instead of reaching for something super sugary, consider one of these alternatives:
- Homemade smoothies are a great option that can be sweet without any cane sugar added, especially if you use sweeter fruits like mangoes or dates. You can combine frozen or fresh fruit with low-sugar juice or yogurt for a delightful snack. They’re also a breeze to drink with braces.
- Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (over 70%) is less sugary than milk chocolate and causes less damage to tooth enamel.
- Plain yogurt can be mildly sweet, containing probiotics and calcium that can help your body beyond your teeth!
- Fresh fruit is full of natural sugars that are generally better for you than processed ones and have other health benefits like fiber and vitamins! Their sugar content still makes them a sweet treat, so you can eat these in moderation like other snacks we mentioned. Some good options are strawberries, apple slices, and pears.
Sweet Smiles All Around with Sycamore Orthodontics!
Sweet treats and oral health don’t have to be at odds! As long as you’re smart about it and clean your teeth well, you can still have some of the sweet stuff in your diet! You can come visit us for a free consultation or give us a call at our Sycamore office at 815-507-8012.
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