Avoiding Sugar with Braces
When wearing braces you need to be extra careful about the foods and drinks you consume on a daily basis. It is common knowledge that if you choose something too hard or sticky you can damage the wires or brackets on your braces, but what about sugary foods?
Eat something too sweet and sugary and you could experience dental problems that will plague you long after your braces have been removed. To help you better understand why you need to avoid sweet treats when wearing braces, we will take a close look at what happens when you consume sugar and explore some of the problems you could experience if you consume a lot of sugary foods and drinks.
Does Sugar Cause Cavities or Are Cavities Caused by Something Else?
People automatically assume because sugar consumption is associated with cavities that the sugar actually causes the cavities, but it doesn’t. Sugar consumption increases the likelihood that you might get cavities, but it doesn’t cause cavities.
Acid, which slowly erodes the enamel of your teeth, is the cause of cavities. So, how is sugar and acid connected when it comes to cavities?
Sugar is connected with cavities because it causes your mouth to produce an overabundance of acid. The more sugar you consume, the more acid your mouth creates which puts you at a greater risk for cavities.
No Need to Completely Eliminate Sweet Treats Just Consume Them in Moderation
Considering the damage that could happen should you choose to consume sweet treats while wearing braces, you may think you have to completely avoid sweet treats and sugary foods but you don’t. You can still consume these things; you just have to do so in moderation.
It is okay to grab a piece of cake or a cupcake every so often, but if you are drinking soda or coffee at every meal and snacking on sweet treats, you could experience a number of problems ranging from cavities to discoloration.
What Problems Occur When You Choose Sugary Treats While Wearing Braces
The problems you can experience when choosing sugary treats while wearing braces are the same problems you could experience if you eat too many sweet treats without braces.
Some of the problems you may experience include:
- Increased teeth sensitivity – acid thins the enamel on your teeth, which makes your teeth sensitive to hot, cold, and sweet treats
- Cavities – if the acid erodes the enamel too much you could develop a number of cavities in between your teeth and around the brackets of your braces
- Discoloration – white spots can develop on your teeth
- Plaque development – thick, yellowish or white colored plaque may develop in hard-to-reach areas on your teeth
- Gum disease
- Bad breath
- Infections – small pockets can form around the gums. Over time bacteria can develop in these pockets and create infections.
All of these problems can happen to anyone whether they are wearing braces or not. However, wearing braces increases your risk of experiencing these problems because there are many nooks and crannies where the bacteria can develop or the acid can attack.
Ways to Prevent Problems from Consuming Too Much Sugar While Wearing Braces
There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of experiencing any problems associated with sugar consumption and wearing braces.
You can reduce your risk for problems by doing the following:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Educating yourself on the types of beverages, such as sodas, milkshakes, and juices, that have a lot of sugar
- Brushing after every meal or when snacking
- Learning how to properly floss when wearing braces
- Following through with regularly scheduled appointments with your orthodontist
- Schedule regular cleanings
- Limit the amount of sugar you consume on a daily basis
- Make healthier snack choices that may have less sugar
- Rinse your mouth out with water if you are unable to brush or floss after a meal
To learn more about how to prevent problems from occurring while wearing braces, schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Clark at Stevens Orthodontic. Dr. Andrew Clark is an orthodontic specialist in Tallahassee, Florida who can help you get the smile you have always wanted by offering advice on how to keep teeth and gums healthy while wearing braces. Call his office today to schedule an appointment.