Look. We all love sweet treats—and there tends to be one month of the year when they become readily available to kids. That’s right, we’re in October, which is Orthodontic Health Month. So, how can you enjoy your treats and not ruin your braces or oral health? Christian Manley Orthodontics proudly serves Sammish and Issaquah, and we are here to help keep the trick out of your treats!
(Sweetly) Spreading Awareness
You probably weren’t aware it was Orthodontic Health Month, but there’s a lot to it! Our main goal is to raise awareness of good orthodontic habits, especially concerning orthodontic treatments like traditional braces or even Damon clear braces, which we offer at our office. Our team at Christian Manley Orthodontics wants all our patients to have the knowledge to keep their mouths healthy, so let’s talk a little more about braces and then tackle how sweet foods impact dental health.
We can give braces to patients of all ages for a number of reasons, but here are a few of the most common scenarios:
- Correction of Misaligned Teeth
- Bite Function Improvement
- Prevention of Future Issues
- Jaw Disorders
- Speech Correction
- Cosmetic Improvement
- Oral Health Benefits
What Do Sweets Do To Your Teeth?
When we consume sweets regularly or in excess, trouble will follow. This arises mostly because of interactions between sugar, acid production, and bacteria in the mouth. Sugar feeds this bacteria and breaks it down into acid, which then demineralizes enamel and causes damage. Here are some other things to consider about eating sweet stuff, with or without braces:
- Cavities are caused when the acid penetrates the enamel, causing holes in the tooth structure. When your doctor does not treat them, they can burrow deeper into the layers of your teeth, which usually means more pain as they approach the nerve. If you experience pain from a cavity, it’s essential to get a filling promptly to avoid expansion.
- Sugary foods often accelerate gum disease. The same acids irritate your gums and can cause gingivitis, which can grow serious over time if left unattended.
- Plaque formation is a film of bacteria and debris that lingers on the tooth’s surface. It promotes decay and gum disease (which is why brushing is key!).
Tips for Treats
If you have braces, you need to be super aware of how to approach eating sweet substances. You don’t have to eliminate them completely, but there are a lot of crucial guidelines to follow.
- Choosing Wisely: Some sweets do more damage than others. Safer options that melt in your mouth (i.e., yogurt, ice cream, and smoothies) are usually a smart way to go. The best option is to go sugar-free.
- No Hard or Sticky Candy: The usual culprits for braces are hard candies, toffee, caramel, gum, and lollipops. Some of these cause worse decay since you have to consume them slowly, others because they are very tacky or crunchy.
- Cut or Break Them Up: If you want a snack like chocolate, breaking it into smaller pieces can reduce the risk of damage to your braces.
- Brushing and Flossing: Brushing and flossing thoroughly after consuming candy or desserts is key. With braces, you need to pay attention to your brackets and wires. If you’re not in a place where you can brush, try rinsing your mouth with water—it removes some of the sugar!
- Regular Check-Ups: Attending all of your regular appointments with Dr. Manley is important! If you have braces, this helps to ensure that they are in good condition and making adequate progress.
- Limiting Sweets: Moderation makes it possible to still enjoy your favorite treats without too much concern (if you follow the rest of these guidelines, of course!). But it is undoubtedly best to limit the amount you consume to prevent short and long-term issues.
- Orthodontic Wax: Maybe you didn’t heed our advice, ate a piece of taffy, and found it damaged your braces. With braces, having orthodontic wax on hand or at home is always wise. Should your orthodontic appliance break, come loose, or have sharp stray wires, this wax will help cover and buffer the abrasion until you can get to our office for repairs.
We Can Get You Out of a Sticky Situation!
With the help of experts like Dr. Manley and our team, you won’t have to feel too bad if you wake up next to empty candy wrappers the morning after Halloween. Heeding this advice will help you year-round! But should you encounter issues, you can book a free consultation or give us a phone call. You can reach both our Sammamish and Issaquah locations at 425-276-7563.