A few holidays throughout the year can mean well-stocked candy stashes in your home (and car and purse). Halloween is probably the most notorious, and October appropriately marks Orthodontic Health Month.
As part of the effort to keep you informed, Dr. Grossman and our team at Raleigh Orthodontics want to let you know how to handle eating sweet treats with and without braces, while maintaining your general oral health! Let’s dive in!
A Month of Awareness
Orthodontic Health Month is an annual event that promotes education and resources for patients to understand dental health issues better. At Raleigh Orthodontics, we want to make sure you’re well-versed in the hows and whys of this topic, and that you feel equipped to treat yourself right!
Raleigh Orthodontics is thrilled to offer Invisalign for all ages at our practice as an alternative to traditional metal or clear braces. In case you’re curious, here are a few common reasons we might decide braces are a good option for you:
- Cosmetic Improvement
- Overall Oral Health Benefits
- Prevention of Future Issues
- Correction of Misaligned Teeth
- Bite Function Improvement
- Jaw Disorders
- Speech Correction
The Not-So-Sweet Truth
There’s a good reason that dentists stress watching your sugar intake. Interactions between sugar, acids, and bacteria in your mouth can cause some serious issues. The acids formed by broken-down bacteria can be hazardous and cause decay. With or without braces, you may be at risk of things like cavities, gum disease, or plaque formation if you choose to eat sweets in excess.
Don’t Get Into a Crunch
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: Brackets and wires can trap sugar and should be cleaned super thoroughly after you consume any treats. We also strongly advise rinsing your mouth with water if you don’t have a toothbrush around.
- No Hard or Sticky Candy: We know caramel apples are a staple of the fall, but there are a few snacks more threatening to your braces! Anything that features caramel or toffee can cause severe issues with your wires. Hard candies are also troublemakers since you usually have to eat them more slowly (and therefore expose your teeth to sugar for a longer period).
- Limiting Sweets: Try setting some kind of schedule for yourself to mediate the amount of sweets you eat. Maybe limit them to one or two meals a week, or set other boundaries for yourself to help make resisting temptation easier!
- 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. Grossman to make any adjustments or repairs you might need done for an easier experience.
- Choosing Wisely: For any treat, the best option is to go sugar-free, consuming foods and candies with sugar alternatives like xylitol or erythritol. But some sweets are kinder than others!
Sweets That Can Treat You Right
There are definitely still some sweet foods you can eat with or without braces that can have less negative impact on your teeth. Instead of reaching for something super crunchy, sugary, or sticky, consider one of these friendlier alternatives:
- Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (more than 70%) is less sugary than semisweet or milk chocolate, and can be kinder to your tooth enamel than alternative treats.
- Fresh fruit contains natural sugars but are considerably less damaging overall and have other health benefits like vitamins and fiber! You can eat these in moderation like other snacks we’ve discussed. Some good ones to opt for are strawberries, apples (be mindful of these if you have braces), and pears.
- Plain yogurt can be mildly sweet, containing calcium and probiotics that can help with gut health.
- Homemade smoothies are a great healthier option if you add minimal sugar. You can combine fresh or frozen fruit with milk or yogurt for a wonderfully refreshing snack. They’re also super braces-friendly.
Raleigh Orthodontics Can Make Your Life Sweeter!
So as you can see, you can reach a happy medium with sweet snacks and oral health! We understand that not everyone will have the willpower to quit them completely, so hopefully you can use this information to help keep your smile healthy! Raleigh Orthodontics has four North Carolina offices in Raleigh, Louisburg, and Creedmoor. You can reach any of these locations via the same phone number at 919-585-5556.