For most of us, October means pumpkin spice lattes, pretending Sacramento is colder than it actually is, and stashing candy in the house—which can have some scary orthodontic consequences! It’s a fitting time of the year to be the official Orthodontic Health Month.
Don’t Beware, Be Aware!
Orthodontic Health Month is a yearly occasion dedicated to promoting awareness about educating and encouraging good oral hygiene practices. At Szymanowski Orthodontics, we’re here to guide you in treating your teeth right. So, let’s begin!
Braces Aren’t Spooky!
At Szymanowski Orthodontics, we provide Invisalign for children, teenagers, and adults, along with traditional ceramic or metal braces. This transition can bring significant changes to your lifestyle, but we are dedicated to helping you in the initial adjustment and ensuring a successful long-term treatment plan. If you’re curious about the reasons why braces might be recommended, here are some typical considerations:
- Overall Oral Health Benefits
- Prevention of Future Issues
- Correction of Misaligned Teeth
- Bite Function Improvement
- Jaw Disorders
- Speech Correction
- Cosmetic Improvement
Sugar Can Play Tricks!
When sugar, acids, and bacteria meet, dental issues can arise! Sugar promotes the growth of bacteria, which then produce acids that contribute to tooth decay. Consuming excessive sugar can lead to problems such as cavities, gum disease, or plaque formation. For individuals with braces, these issues can be even more challenging.
Good news! You don’t need to eliminate sweet treats while wearing braces completely. However, it’s essential to exercise extra caution and mindfulness when it comes to your food choices and eating habits!
- Brushing and Flossing: The components of braces, including brackets and wires, have a tendency to trap sugar particles easily. Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain diligent oral hygiene practices after enjoying sweet treats. If you don’t have immediate access to a toothbrush, we highly recommend rinsing your mouth with water.
- No Hard or Sticky Candy: While caramel apples are a beloved fall tradition, it’s important to recognize that some snacks pose higher risks to your braces. Treats containing caramel or toffee have the potential to cause significant issues with your wires. Furthermore, hard candies can present challenges as they dissolve slowly, leaving your teeth exposed to sugar for an extended duration.
- Limiting Sweets: Consider implementing a structured routine to manage your sweet consumption. This may involve limiting sweet treats to just one or two meals per week or establishing specific guidelines to help you resist temptation more effectively.
- Regular Check-Ups: For individuals with braces, follow-up appointments are essential for us to assess the progress of your treatment. These appointments provide an opportunity for Dr. Damon to evaluate your condition and, if necessary, make any adjustments or repairs to ensure a more comfortable treatment experience.
- Orthodontic Wax: Having orthodontic wax easily accessible is a smart choice for individuals with braces. If your orthodontic appliance sustains damage, becomes loose, or develops protruding wires due to an incident involving candy, this wax can provide a temporary solution to alleviate discomfort until we can attend to it during your in-office visit.
- Choosing Wisely: Regarding treats, the best decision is to go for sugar-free alternatives, including foods and candies sweetened with sugar substitutes such as xylitol or erythritol. Nevertheless, it’s essential to be aware that certain sweets are more compatible with braces than others!
Sweets That Treat You Better
Getting braces doesn’t imply that you have to eliminate all sweet treats from your diet. Fortunately, there are yummy choices available, suitable for both those with and without braces, that contain much less sugar compared to other commonly enjoyed desserts. Rather than indulging in highly sugary options, think about trying one of these substitutes:
- Homemade smoothies offer a delightful option for sweetness without the need for added cane sugar, particularly when incorporating naturally sweet fruits like mangoes or dates. Combining frozen or fresh fruit with low-sugar juice or yogurt creates a satisfying and braces-friendly snack.
- Opting for dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (exceeding 70%) is a low-sugar alternative compared to milk chocolate, and it poses less harm to tooth enamel.
- Plain yogurt can impart a mild sweetness while also providing probiotics and calcium, which offer benefits beyond dental health.
- Fresh fruit contains natural sugars, which are generally healthier than processed sugars and come with additional advantages like fiber and essential vitamins. Their inherent sweetness makes them a delightful treat, and you can enjoy them in moderation. Excellent choices include strawberries, apple slices, and pears.
Serving Up Lovely Smiles at Szymanowski Orthodontics!
You don’t have to compromise your oral health to enjoy sweet treats! With some careful consideration and proper dental hygiene, you can still incorporate sweetness into your diet! You can visit us for a free consultation or give us a call at our Sacramento office at (916) 378-1455