Braces are great for wearers because they can help prevent gum disease and cavities by improving the spacing of teeth for easier and more effective flossing and brushing, which can remove the causes of dental problems. They help with better food chewing and digestion, prevent injury by correcting misaligned teeth, help improve self-esteem and even help with speech improvement. All are great reasons to have braces. However, braces require some extra care and prevention in order to get these benefits. And unfortunately, sugar is definitely on the “watch list.”
Why Sugar is the Enemy of Braces
It is true. Sugar is the enemy of braces. But it is really what happens after you consume sugar that causes the damage. Sugar blends in with the saliva in your mouth and forms a sticky film that coats all the surfaces, nooks and crannies of your mouth, including your tongue and cheeks. That sticky film also clings to all the surfaces of your braces. Bacteria that live in your mouth feed on sugar and create acids that harm your teeth causing cavities and building up tartar leading to gum disease. Unfortunately, sugar doesn’t simply go away without a lot of effort.
What to Avoid Eating While Wearing Braces
Sugar is commonly found in candy, many drinks, and sweets in general. In addition, sugar is found in starchy and processed foods. These all have high concentrations of sugar, so avoid (or minimize) them:
- Carbonated soft drinks
- Energy drinks and sports drinks
- Fruit juices
- Candy—especially sticky candy
- Cakes and pies
- Ice cream
And, check ingredient labels to find surprising amounts of sugar:
- Other words for sugar include glucose, fructose, maltose, molasses, and corn syrup.
- Watch out for processed foods including cereal and protein bars.
- Examine the ingredients carefully if the label says, “fat free.”
How to Prevent Cavities While Wearing Braces
- Drink lots of water, especially after eating foods with higher amounts of sugar.
- Take extra care when eating “harder” foods (like bone-in meats) and foods that may stick to braces. Instead, choose soft fruits, vegetables, dairy products, soft meats, soft breads, and eggs.
- Floss frequently to extract food particles and any sugary film.
- Bush for two minutes after each meal using a 45-degree angle to effectively remove particles.
Don’t Do These Things While Wearing Braces
You can improve the effectiveness and success of your orthodontist’s treatment with braces by not doing these things:
- Chewing on ice
- Chewing gum (really a “braces destroyer”)
- Use your teeth as “tools”
- Grinding your teeth
Remember the old proverb, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Choose an Expert Orthodontist You Can Rely On
When you want to choose braces, contact Reese Orthodontics, The Smile People, based in Charleston, SC. Over 11,000 people have trusted Reese Orthodontics to transform their smiles and their lives. You’ll get great treatment, care, and advice for your new braces. Great options. Great service. Great results.