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Young woman with braces playing with strawberries and covering her eyes with them

Whenever you first begin orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will recommend certain foods that you should avoid, and those which will be good for your teeth. Many times, sugary or sticky foods like candy, gum, corn, and nuts shouldn’t be eaten during the duration of your treatment as they are known to damage braces and increase the likelihood of cavities. While there is a list of foods that you should NOT eat with braces, there are plenty of options that you can still include in your diet that are just as tasty as those that you will have to avoid for a while. Find out what foods you should avoid during orthodontic treatment and what foods you can still enjoy with this guide!

 

Foods That Are Good

One of the first concerns that patients have as they begin orthodontic treatment involves the food they should and should not eat. A lot of responsibility comes with braces, as you will have to protect them by watching what you eat, cleaning them daily and adhering to your orthodontist’s instructions. To begin, let’s discuss all of the food that you CAN eat during your time with braces. Softer options are your way to go as your mouth gets used to braces, so eating food like chicken, oatmeal, rice, beans, fish, eggs and yogurt are great ways to get a lot of nutrition without breaking a bracket. Even hard fruits, like apples and pears, are good to eat as long as they’re cut into slices or smaller pieces. Don’t think you’ll be able to get away with not eating vegetables during treatment-even the crunchiest of vegetables can be steamed or sliced into slivers, making them perfectly edible for orthodontic patients. You’ll want to eat foods that you don’t need to chew much, especially after an adjustment. Soups and mashed potatoes work perfectly for a sore mouth, and sandwiches and salads (without nuts) can be eaten once you get used to the feel of braces.

 

Foods To AvoidColorful candies, lollipops and gummies

Unfortunately, the list for foods that you should avoid during treatment seems to always be much longer than those you should eat. However, the new diet that you’ll be working with for the next several months or years is actually beneficial for you in the long run as most of the food you need to avoid is sugar-filled. Hard and sticky foods are no-nos when it comes to braces; candy, caramel, nuts, chips, licorice, taffy and gum are notorious for breaking wires and brackets, plus they cause cavities. Sugary and starchy foods produce plaque and acid, and the more you eat these foods, the more likely it is that you’ll get tooth decay and gum disease. Hard foods like popcorn and ice can make the impact of braces less effective, meaning a longer treatment time and more money. Additionally, the elastic ligatures that are placed on the bracket itself can be stained by foods with strong colorants, such as berries, grape juice and beets. Even though you may feel like you’re missing out on all of your favorite foods, you’ll be surprised that most foods you love can still be eaten with braces if they’re cut smaller or skinned. You’ll need some creativity when figuring out your meal plan during treatment, but the benefits of keeping your teeth healthy and braces intact outweigh the cons of giving up some of your favorite treats for a while.

 

Taking Care Of Your Braces

Watching what you eat is just one step in your oral hygiene regimen with braces. First, begin with the basics of brushing and flossing. Take off your elastics and other removable parts of your braces and begin brushing at a 45-degree angle. Clean each tooth and bracket individually in a circular motion, and floss beneath the archwire to remove any leftover food. Flossing can be difficult with braces, so it might be a good idea if you use a floss threader to get in between teeth and under wires. These two steps are essential to thoroughly clean teeth and prevent decay from forming, so make sure that they are a part of your everyday routine. For an additional clean, rinse your mouth with mouthwash to kill bacteria and give yourself fresh breath. Lastly, always go to your orthodontic cleaning and adjustment appointments. The orthodontist will be able to monitor your tooth movement, fix broken brackets, tighten wires, remove plaque and give you pointers on how to take care of your braces.

 

Get A Beautiful Smile Today

For more information about foods you should and should not eat with braces, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016! Our team has years of experience educating patients on oral health, adjusting brackets and wires and helping patients get the beautiful smiles they deserve. Call today!

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Young girl teen that is smiling at the camera wearing braces and giving the thumbs up sign.

Halloween can be an incredibly fun time for kids and adults alike. However, the not-so-fun part is developing cavities later on because of that Halloween candy. Sugar is directly related to tooth decay, but it’s even worse if you have braces on your teeth. There are specific candies you should try to avoid if you have brackets and wires, as they can get stuck easier. Find out what these are and tips to reduce your risk for tooth decay during the holidays!

 

How Popular Is Halloween?

About $2.4 billion dollars is spent in Easter candy each year. However, Halloween candy is a close second at around $2.1 billion in sales. Divided up into individual households, that’s about $44-$47 dollars spent on Halloween candy in each household.

 

If you think Halloween candy sales are scary, here are the facts on the actual candy consumed on Halloween day itself:

  • Almost all children and at least ½ of all adults eat candy on Halloween day.
  • However, the amount of candy consumed is well-past the recommended 6 or less teaspoons children should have in a day. Adults should only have between 6 and 9 teaspoons of sugar (tops) per day. On Halloween itself, up to 3 cups of candy is consumed per child.
  • That equates to about 48 teaspoons of sugar per cup, or about 144 teaspoons of sugar, or 675 grams of sugar in one day.
  • USA Today reports that 4% of all the candy eaten in the U.S. is eaten on Halloween day.
  • Reader’s Digest reports that the amount of calories children and adults alike eat on Halloween equals anywhere between 3,000 and 7,000 calories.
  • Not only can this much sugar lead to incredible health problems and diabetes, but sugar—the main ingredient in that candy—is the direct cause of tooth decay.

 

Chevron candy bag that has candy spilling out of it. The words "trick or treat" is written next to it on a black background.

How Can Candy Hurt Your Teeth?

Candy is damaging to your teeth because of the sugar, which is a direct factor in your risk for tooth decay. The more sugar you eat, the more cavities you could get. When you eat or drink, sugars in food will mix with certain bacterias in your mouth. That mixture will create a sticky substance called plaque. You can’t simply swallow that plaque either. It sticks to your teeth and becomes an acidic substance when it mixes.

 

Because it’s acidic, as it sticks to your tooth enamel like a film, it will work to erode and decay your teeth. It does this by breaking up the minerals that make up your tooth enamel layer. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth often enough, or you eat a ton of sugar, you have plaque working hard on your teeth to destroy them.

 

Plaque can decay your tooth surface to create surface cavities. If enough decay happens on that layer, it can get through to the inner layers of the teeth, causing internal (and sometimes large) cavities that can turn into infections and tooth loss. Sugar is the main food for plaque, which is why candy—whose main ingredient is sugar—can hurt your teeth.

 

Close up view of a woman's mouth that has braces on it and she is holding a toothbrush and a proxabrush in her hands.

Avoiding Specific Sweet Treats with Braces

Anyone can get cavities and other oral health problems from a large candy or sugar consumption. You don’t only have to worry about candy either when it comes to cavities—you have to worry about all foods. Most foods you can buy at the store have added sugars in them. That includes juices, sports drinks, and sodas, as well as the obvious sugar foods like candy, cakes, ice cream and cookies. Always check food labels to see how much sugar a food contains.

 

There are specific foods you want to avoid if you wear braces, as those foods and candies can make it much easier for you to get cavities. Especially at Halloween, popular candies are ones that are chewy and sticky. Anything chewy and sticky will get stuck in your brackets and wires if you wear lingual, ceramic or metal braces. Sweet treats you want to avoid if you wear braces include:

  • Gum: Gum is made to be elastic and sticky and can stick to brackets like crazy. Avoid it completely with braces. After your braces are off, chew sugar-free gum.
  • Chewy/Sticky Candy: Examples include caramels, taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Starburst, licorice, Skittles, Sugar Daddies and any candies that are similar. Avoid fruit snacks, gummies and dried fruit as well, which are all incredibly sticky.
  • Hard Candies: These go hand-in-hand with suckers and mints. All of these candies expose your teeth to sugars for prolonged periods of time, which means a prolonged risk for acidic plaque and tooth decay.
  • Sodas/Citrus Drinks: These and any carbonated drinks all contain either citric acid or carbonic acid, which erode the teeth. That can mean you have tooth erosion and decay all around your brackets, which will be very noticeable when your braces come off.

 

Enjoy Some Sweetness This Halloween

When it comes to Halloween, we want all of our patients to have fun and to enjoy the holiday. Candy is naturally a part of that holiday, but it doesn’t mean that you have to experience tooth decay in the weeks following it. Every person needs to be conscious of their candy consumption on Halloween to avoid tooth decay, erosion and health problems in general.

 

You don’t want to work hard for 18-24 months getting a straight smile if it’s decayed when your braces finally come off. Enjoy your Halloween sweet treats, but be mindful of your oral health. Brush your teeth 3 times a day or after every meal with fluoride toothpaste. Floss your teeth at least 1-2 times a day. Avoid sticky and sugary treats and clean the teeth very well if you do eat them at Halloween. Avoid acidic drinks and watch your sugar consumption. For tips on cleaning your teeth correctly with braces to avoid tooth decay, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!