Braces are great for correcting alignment problems with the teeth, including crooked and rotated teeth and crossbites, overbites and underbites. However, it is essential that you take good care of your teeth and braces during the duration of your orthodontic treatment, and one of the ways to take great care of your teeth is to limit your sugar intake in order to avoid tooth decay and cavities that will have to be treated after your braces are removed.
Sugar and Braces Don’t Mix
Under normal circumstances, sugar is bad for your teeth. When you are wearing braces, the damage to your teeth from eating too much sugar can be even worse. Your mouth contains hundreds of different types of bacteria, and they thrive on sugar. When you eat a candy bar, foods that are high in sugar or drink sweetened drinks, the bacteria in your mouth eat the sugar that is left on your teeth, gums, and tongue and multiply. This process can increase the acids in your mouth and eat away at the enamel that protects your teeth. Once the enamel has been destroyed, a cavity forms. It can also lead to an increase in plaque and tartar, which contributes to gum disease.
Brushing, flossing, and rinsing helps remove the sugars and acid from your mouth, creating a healthy environment where your teeth and gums can thrive. When you have braces, there are more nooks, crannies and hidden spaces in your mouth where food particles and sugar can get stuck and hide, and these areas can be difficult to clean sufficiently, even when you are taking the time to clean around your brackets and wires.
Understanding What Happens When You eat Sugar While Wearing Braces
Sugar is not only found in candy, sweets, and drinks, it is also contained in starchy and processed foods. When the sugar mixes with your saliva, it creates a sticky film that coats every area of your mouth. Normally, this would include every surface of your teeth, between your teeth and on your gums, cheeks, and tongue. When you are wearing braces, it also includes the wires and every portion of your brackets, even along and under the sides of each bracket.
Even with proper brushing, you may still fail to remove all the film form your mouth, especially along the sides of each bracket. This leaves the sticky film in place where it continues to attack your teeth and wear down the enamel, causing tooth decay and cavities.
Considering most braces are worn between 12 and 14 months, you could be in for a nasty surprise when your braces are finally removed. Instead of having white, healthy, straight teeth upon the removal of your braces, your dentist may reveal dark spots and cavities that will need further treatment to correct.
Sugary Foods to Avoid While Wearing Braces
While wearing your braces, you will want to avoid foods that are extremely soft, chewy or sticky and that contain a large amount of sugar or starch. Our dentist can give you a list of foods that are safe and unsafe while you are wearing your braces.
- Cake and pies
- Energy drinks
- Extremely soft breads
- Fruit juices
- Heavily processed foods
- Ice cream
- Sports drinks
Caring for Your Braces with Help from Our Melbourne, FL Dentist
Our Melbourne, FL dentist, Dr. Reddick, can help you properly care for your braces by helping you choose the right oral hygiene products, like soft toothbrushes, dental flossers or picks and mouthwashes. He can also give you a comprehensive list of foods to avoid and foods to eat while you are straightening your teeth with braces. We can also schedule extra dental examinations, teeth cleanings and check-ups while you are in the process of straightening your teeth.
To schedule an appointment with our Melbourne dentist for a check-up and to see if braces would be right for you, call us at 321-777-1225.