You wouldn’t knowingly do anything to harm your teeth, but are you actively doing things to protect them? Braces are an amazing opportunity to get a straighter, more beautiful smile. However, wearing braces on your teeth make them much harder to clean than they were before. This is especially true when it comes to certain foods and drinks. We have a list of foods that you should avoid during your orthodontic treatment because those foods stick to the teeth. You never want food to stay stuck in your braces, as this leads to tooth decay and demineralization. We can help you to know what foods and drinks to stay away from during your orthodontic treatment. We can also help you to know how to properly clean your teeth so you don’t have to worry about tooth decay as your teeth get straighter. Avoid foods and drinks that harm your teeth so you can have a beautiful smile once those braces come off!
What Does Plaque Do?
When you eat, bacteria in your mouth mix with sugars in the foods and drinks you consume. That creates a sticky, transparent film that coats your teeth. Many people have heard of this sticky substance–plaque–before, but they don’t understand what it does. Plaque is a substance that you make right in your mouth.That sticky film is also acidic, so over time, plaque slowly erodes away your tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth several times a day and flossing regularly can keep plaque from accumulating on your teeth.
Foods that Harm Your Teeth
When it comes to having that healthy, beautiful smile, take a proactive approach by avoiding foods that are known to damage your teeth. Some foods damage your teeth because of what they contain or by what you do with that food. Here are some foods that can harm your teeth:
- Hard Foods – Be careful when eating hard foods such as carrots, nuts, popcorn hulls, hard candies and more, as you could break or chip a tooth.
- Sugary Foods – Foods with sugar help make more plaque in your mouth. The more sugar there is, the more plaque you can make. Limit your sugar intake to help keep your mouth healthier.
- Chewy Foods – Chewy foods such as gummies, taffy, caramels and more, stick to the teeth more than other foods. That means sugar sits on your teeth for longer, eroding your enamel. Brush your teeth after eating these foods.
- Ice Chips – Although ice is just hardened water, it can break or chip a tooth if you chew on it. Water gets very hard, and often water in the form of ice breaks teeth or wears them down over time.
- Fruits – Whether you have fruits often or fruit juice, they both contain citric acid. Any type of acid is one that you want to watch out for as it will harm your teeth. Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons will damage your tooth enamel and weaken it over time.
Drinks Erode Tooth Enamel
Drinks can also harm your teeth, and can impact your smile even more than some foods. The average person needs to drink about half their body weight in ounces each day to stay properly hydrated. In an ideal world, people would drink only water or liquids such as vitamin-fortified milk. However, it’s becoming more common for people to consume sugary drinks such as sodas, juices, and energy drinks instead of water. The high-sugar content of these types of drinks can quickly damage your teeth.
Drinks to Consume in Moderation
There are many types of drinks. Some of the most common drinks that damage your teeth are:
- Sodas – One of the worst culprits of drinks that harm your teeth is soda. These not only are full of sugar, but they also contain carbonation. Carbonation gives you that fizzy pop in your mouth because the CO2 in the carbonation has a chemical reaction in your mouth. This turns that CO2 into carbonic acid, which erodes away your tooth enamel. If you want stronger teeth, skip the soda.
- Sugary Drinks – Sports drinks provide electrolytes, which help keep your muscles working, your energy higher and help you recover better. However, they are full of sugar, which will damage your teeth. Juices aren’t any better either. Always check your drink label for the sugar content and avoid drinks with lots of sugar.
- Energy Drinks – Think of these as a step up from sodas. Most energy drinks contain carbonation, although you can find options that are non-carbonated. However, most energy drinks work overtime to harm your teeth. Energy drinks generally give you a boost of energy through caffeine. Most energy drinks also add in much more sugar than a regular soda would (which is already a lot). Save your teeth and get more sleep or exercise for energy.
- Additional Beverages – There are many drinks that can harm your teeth. Water can harm your teeth if it is carbonated, because of the acid that is involved. Milk is great for your teeth, as it contains calcium and phosphate, which can help rebuild your tooth enamel. However, chocolate milk is full of sugar, which harms your teeth. With any drink, always check the label to know what you are actually drinking.
Use Mouthwash for Added Defense
Mouthwash can kill bacteria that help make plaque in your mouth. Fluoride fights against the damaging effects of plaque. Incorporate it in your cleansing routine to help fortify your tooth enamel and protect your mouth from tooth decay.
Establish Good Habits
Practice good habits to promote great oral health. Protect your teeth through proper brushing and flossing practices. The American Dental Association recommends that every person brush their teeth at least twice a day, if not after every meal. The more often you brush your teeth, the less likely you are to have tooth decay and problems such as gum disease.
While flossing requires more steps with traditional braces, it is an essential part of protecting your teeth while wearing braces. Don’t be tempted to skip this important part of your teeth-cleaning process!
See Your Dentist During Orthodontic Treatment
Seeing your dentist for comprehensive exams and dental cleanings twice a year during your time with braces will also help you to know how healthy your mouth is. Your dentist can give your teeth a thorough cleaning and teach you tips for better oral care with braces.
Call for a Consultation
If you would like to know more about foods and drinks and how they affect your teeth, or if you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation at Belmar Orthodontics, please call our office at 303-225-9016. We are anxious to keep your smile bright and healthy throughout your time with braces and after!