Fall in Denver is a beautiful time of year. From all the fun festivals and events, to the great outdoors, there is so much to do. With Halloween just around the corner, it is also a time where many people have a stronger craving for sweet treats. This makes it such a crucial time to ensure you are practicing healthy habits. When you enjoy snacks cautiously, you can avoid painful and costly dental or orthodontic problems. Use these tips from your local orthodontist in Broomfield to keep your teeth healthy this fall.
Basics of Sugar and Teeth
As tasty as it can be, sugar can lead to tooth decay, but not in the way you may think. In fact, the sugar itself is not the culprit of decay but rather kicks off a reaction. It starts with bacteria, which lives in your mouth. This is normal. Where the downfall of sugar begins is through certain types of bacteria that feed on sugar. When the bacteria eat the sugar, it produces a harmful acid that can strip your teeth of their enamel. This removal of enamel leads to cavities. The worse this gets due to improper care; the more damage is done to the teeth. Now, keep in mind the mouth has extraordinary measures to fight against bad bacteria. However, it cannot fight everything alone. This is why it is extremely important to brush your teeth two to three times per day to help rid the mouth of sugars and other factors that attract certain bacteria.
General Fall Treats to be Wary Of
Whether you have braces or not, certain sweets can be hard on the teeth. This does not even factor in how sugar attracts different types of bacteria. Here are a few sweets that can be damaging to the teeth that everyone should be cautious of:
- Caramel apples: While delicious and rich in nutrients, apples themselves can be quite acidic, stripping out the enamel. When you combine that with caramel rich in sugar that can stick on teeth easily, you could be setting yourself up for a bad situation.
- Apple cider: Also acidic, drinking a delicious warm apple cider can hurt your teeth if you do not remove the sugars and acids.
- Taffy and chewy candies: Candy that is hard and chewy can damage your teeth in a few ways. First, depending on how hard they are, it can be hard on the teeth to chew them—possibly causing chipping. Second, because they are sticky, particles can stick to your teeth in areas hard to brush, attracting harmful bacteria to feed on the sugar.
Snacks and Sweets to Avoid with Braces
In addition to the normal dangers of sugar, those with braces must be extra cautious this fall when consuming sweet treats. A few items to avoid include:
- Caramel popcorn: Caramel is sticky and the popcorn can lodge in several areas. This mixture of sticky and tough can move or damage wires and brackets.
- Candy corn with nuts: Similar to caramel popcorn, candy corn is extremely chewy and could lead to damage of wire or brackets. Certain types of nuts are also hard, creating a combination that can damage the hardware.
- Chocolate bars with nuts: Chewy candy bars with nuts can damage and break off brackets or damage wires.
- Foods that you bite into: When it comes to braces, it is best to find foods, or cut foods, into bites. Biting into foods, such as apples or corn-on-the-cob, can pull on brackets, cause foods to lodge in places, etc.
- Hard candies: Brackets can easily break off, wires can bend or snap, and more when introduced to hard candies.
- Toffee: Very hard and chewy, toffee can tear off brackets or damage wiring.
Foods to Enjoy with Braces
Don’t worry, there are plenty of fall foods you can enjoy during the fall. Try swapping out some of the items above with these braces-friendly treats and snacks:
- Plain chocolate bars: Enjoy a simple chocolate bar without nuts, hard pieces or anything hard on the teeth. You can also mix things up by eating peanut butter cups or chocolate with other soft mixtures.
- Soft cookies: Enjoy a soft chocolate chip, snickerdoodle or other types of soft cookies this fall. Break off pieces and chew them instead of biting into them.
- Pumpkin pie: Usually pies without crunchy toppings and pieces inside, such as pumpkin pie, will not damage braces.
Looking for more ideas for your fall and Halloween gatherings? Try these dental-friendly Halloween treats for those with braces.
Cleaning and Care
After you consume something sweet, swish some water around in your mouth if you do not have quick access to a toothbrush. This will help to rid some of the sugars from sticking on your teeth. If able, the best thing you can do is quickly brush your teeth. Make sure to brush all around each bracket to rid the area of anything that may stick to it and attract harmful bacteria. You can purchase small brushes to go in between your brackets to help remove anything from sticking.
Ideally, investing in an electric toothbrush is one of the best ways to care for your teeth with and without braces. Simply hold the brush on each side of each tooth for a few seconds. This will break up plaque and anything hard or sticky on the teeth. Make sure to brush around the gums as well to keep them strong. Brush your teeth with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Fluoride helps to combat acids produced by bacteria that feed on sugar. Use a fluoride-based toothpaste at least twice per day for optimal results.
Last, be sure to floss daily. This helps remove plaque and particles in between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot get.
Do you have questions about caring for your teeth this fall, especially when it comes to braces? Read more about the 10 common questions about braces
from your orthodontist in Broomfield. From there, schedule an appointment for a free consultation by calling 303-468-7722. Our team looks forward to meeting you!