So, you’re in your costume. You’ve secured your candy and are ready to dig in. It’s downright magical at that moment—but on your next visit to the dentist, it may cause some serious problems!
Orthodontic Health Month rolls around every October, and offices like ours at Williams & Hamman Orthodontics like to take some extra measures to ensure eating sweet treats doesn’t wreck your oral health—or your braces!
Spreading Orthodontic Health Awareness
Orthodontic Health Month may not be celebrated widely, but it’s a great time to learn how sugary snacks impact our teeth! The main goal is to raise awareness of good orthodontic habits, especially concerning orthodontic treatments like traditional braces or clear aligners. Our team at Williams & Hamman Orthodontics works hard to ensure our patients have the knowledge they need to keep their mouths nice and healthy, so read on to learn more about how sweet foods impact general dental health and individuals with braces.
When We Recommend Braces
Patients of all ages can need braces for many reasons, but here are a few of the most common scenarios we see in our practice:
- Oral Health Benefits
- Cosmetic Improvement
- Correction of Misaligned Teeth
- Prevention of Future Issues
- Jaw Disorders
- Bite Function Improvement
- Speech Correction
Treats Aren’t Always So Sweet
When we consume sweets, especially in excess, it can cause a lot of issues for our dental wellbeing. Interactions between sugar, acid production, and bacteria in the mouth cause problems. The consumption of sugar feeds bacteria and breaks it down into acid, which then causes damage to enamel. Whether you have braces or not, here are some things to contemplate about eating sweet stuff:
- 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 important to get a filling promptly to avoid expansion.
- Plaque formation is a film of bacteria and debris on the tooth’s surface. It promotes decay and gum disease.
- Gum disease is often accelerated by sugary foods. The same acids irritate your gums and can cause gingivitis, which can grow serious if left unattended.
Don’t Let Treats Trick You!
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.
- Brushing and Flossing: Flossing and brushing thoroughly after consuming candy or desserts is vital! You need to pay special attention to this if you have braces, taking time to clean your brackets and wires. Try rinsing your mouth with water if you cannot brush—it removes some sugar!
- Cut or Break Up: A snack like a chocolate bar is super easy to separate into smaller portions, which are usually much more manageable for consumption and can help you protect your braces better!
- Limiting Sweets: Moderation is key. It is possible to enjoy your most beloved treats, but you must follow the rest of these guidelines to make it effective. By pacing the quantity you consume, you reduce risks of both short and long-term risks.
- No Hard or Sticky Candy: These should be avoided at all costs! Caramel, toffee, and gum cause issues due to their stickiness. As for hard candy and lollipops, not only are they crunchy, but they usually involve sustained exposure to sugar since they have to dissolve slowly.
- Regular Check-Ups: You should attend all your regular appointments with Dr. Williams, Dr. Hamman, or Dr. Kyla! If you have braces, you probably know that these visits are to check their progress and make any additional repairs.
- Choosing Wisely: Some sweets can be more problematic than others. Options that quickly melt in your mouth (i.e., ice cream, yogurt, and smoothies) are usually good choices, but the best option is to go sugar-free.
- Orthodontic Wax: Having orthodontic wax on hand or at home is always wise when you have braces. Should your orthodontic appliance break, come loose, or have sharp stray wires due to a candy mishap, this wax will cover the abrasion until we can address it in the office.
Serving You Is A Piece of Cake!
So, even if you find yourself struggling with any pain or other damage after eating sweets, have no fear! Williams & Hamman Orthodontics is devoted to treating the patients of northern Mississippi. You can reach our Southaven and Olive Branch offices at (662) 214-5948 to schedule your free consultation today.