Sugar and Braces
Getting braces or Invisalign is exciting, as you’re on your way to a healthier, straighter smile. As with any medical treatment, once the braces are attached, you’ll need to make some lifestyle changes to ensure your teeth stay as healthy as possible. A major change involves sugar—knowing how to manage sugar intake, how to clean your teeth effectively, and alternatives to sugar-filled treats. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about sugar and braces.
Sugar and Braces: A Miserable Partnership
Eating sugary foods at any time is bad for your teeth, but this is especially true when you have braces or use Invisalign. Any time you eat foods with sugar, including carbohydrates, your mouth starts growing bacteria and producing more acid, which causes tooth decay. Normally, brushing and flossing your teeth takes care of these potential cavities. When you have braces, however, your toothbrush has a harder time reaching all the bacteria around your brackets, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay. Less sugar consumption means less bacteria, which means less risk of cavities and decay.
Avoid Sugar Bombs
Be aware of which foods contain a lot of sugar, and either avoid these or eat them as an occasional treat. These foods include, but are not limited to, cake, pie, cookies, ice cream, and soda. It is also best to avoid soft breads, energy and sports drinks, and fruit juices, which can all be hiding high levels of sugar. In addition to these “sugar bombs,” also avoid sticky or chewy foods, like taffy, caramel, and gum.
If you’re looking for a treat, try eating foods with less sugar, like dark chocolate, or look for foods with the sugar substitute xylitol. Another sweet treat is soft, small or sliced fruits, like blueberries or bananas. These will provide a little bit of sweetness without the added harm to your teeth.
Keep Your Teeth Clean
Brushing and flossing your teeth becomes even more important when you have braces. The last thing you want is to finish your treatment, have your braces removed, and discover a wealth of hidden cavities. To avoid this, make sure you are thoroughly cleaning your teeth each morning and night, and after eating. Some other tips to help you manage sugar and braces:
- Use a soft toothbrush—this avoids gum irritation and damage to the enamel
- Don’t use too much toothpaste—you only need a small pea-sized amount
- Use the right kind of floss— adding a waterpik or floss threader is even better
- Brush a full two minutes—use a timer to make sure you are brushing the whole time
- Buy the right toothpaste—make sure it contains fluoride
Although you will have to give up many sugary treats while wearing braces or Invisalign, the end result is worth the sacrifice. If you are ready to take the next step on your dental health journey, contact Bruno Orthodontics to schedule a free consultation!
Bruno Orthodontics offers Invisalign, braces, and other orthodontic treatment for adults, teens, and children in an award-winning office in Chevy Chase. Dr. Jill Bruno is a Diamond+ Provider for Invisalign, putting her in the top 1% of Invisalign doctors. Convenient online scheduling and virtual consults are available for new and current patients.