Most orthodontic treatment plans can take from 18 months to three years to complete. Even if the patient does not have a chronic sweet tooth, they are likely to have a candy craving at some point while wearing braces. If you are wondering if having some candy just once would be that bad, the answer is yes. It can actually undo months of hard work in your orthodontic treatment. Those who have braces should consider the following before reaching for that candy bar.
The Negative Effects of Sugar
Candy contains a great deal of sugar, and this is not good for your health, regardless of wearing braces or not. Sugar, and carbohydrates in general, provide fuel for bacterial growth that damages teeth. If you do not wear clear braces that are removable for proper oral hygiene, candy can quickly become a problem. The bands, brackets and wires of metal braces are a fertile ground for decay because there so many places for sugar to hide and bacteria to start spreading.
You may also think that the type of candy makes a difference. Whether the candy is soft, hard, gooey or sticky, it is bad for your braces. The hard and chewy types of candy are the worst because they stress the teeth when you bite down on them. This can cause wires and brackets to break and pop off, requiring a trip to the orthodontist for repair. This alone should deter you from giving in to your desire for candy.
Acceptable Treats When You Have Braces
Having a sweet tooth is a difficult thing when you are wearing braces. Sugar can be as addicting as drugs, making it very hard to say no when the craving hits. There are a few treats that you can have without compromising your treatment. Reach for the following foods when you just cannot say no:
• Dark chocolate. This type of chocolate is much lower in sugar and has fewer carbohydrates, making it a healthier choice than a regular candy bar.
• Sugar-free gum. No sugar to stick to your braces, and it will keep your breath fresh as well.
• Cookies. These treats have less sugar than candy and are less likely to cause problems with your treatment.
• Ice cream. This turns into liquid in your mouth and will not cause the bacterial buildup that leads to decay.
• Milkshakes and smoothies. Like ice cream, these can be easily rinsed from your mouth after consumption.