Your teeth are at a vulnerable stage when first fitted for braces so you have to be careful or disaster can result. When thinking about potential problems with your braces start with what you put in your mouth.
By now you are probably aware of the recipe for disaster when you eat foods you should avoid. You know to avoid hard foods such as candy, corn-on-the-cob, crusty breads and rolls, and nuts- to name just a few. And yes, you are aware that chewy foods are also a no-no. You say no to taffy, caramel, and bubble gum and similar things. Even long strands of pasta can get snarled in the bands, wires, and brackets. Whilst all of these foods can cause problems for your teeth and your braces, don’t overlook avoiding non-foods such as pencils, pens, and fingernails. They can also spell disaster for your teeth and braces. Chewing on the above can break braces and/or teeth. But many patients overlook other potential problem-producing things like the liquids they ingest which can be a disaster for those who wear braces.
Soft Drinks and Braces
Soft drinks, including regular and diet sodas, fruit drinks, sport drinks, and energy drinks can weaken tooth enamel. They can be a greater disaster for braces and teeth than solid food. Why? Soft drinks are like liquid candy. Think acid and sugar and then think plaque. Acid draws calcium from the enamel which weakens the tooth and makes it soft to the touch. This process called decalcification is a dental disaster that can lead to cavities. Once the enamel is gone, it doesn’t return- ever. Acid’s accomplice in dental disaster is sugar. Sugar aids in the build-up of plaque. Plaque is a colourless film comprised of bacteria, food particles, and saliva that constantly forms on your teeth. Plaque takes in sugar and starches as food and spews out acid. The acid not only stains the teeth but can eat away at the tooth. If the acid-packed plaque is not removed by regular brushing and flossing, the accumulation can be disastrous for teeth. It can lead to loss of the protective enamel resulting in cavities, gum disease, and bone loss below the gumline.
Acid and sugar together equal double disaster. The white marks left from decalcification are permanent, too. Braces are a great natural home for plaque as it collects around brackets, between teeth, and under the gums. If you’re not careful about what you put into your mouth, decalcification will begin to occur before the braces are removed. If you can’t stay away from soft drinks try using a straw. Also, drink while eating other solid food such as mealtime, and brush vigorously after drinking.
Things to Keep in Mind with Braces
To avoid disaster for your braces encased teeth, remember that this is a sensitive time for your teeth. The periodontium is inflamed and the braces make it harder to clean the teeth. Adding to the potential for disaster is that the metallic brackets also leech important minerals from the tooth enamel. Yes, eating hard substances as mentioned at the beginning can harm teeth and braces. But liquids such as soft drinks are not a good idea considering the already weakened enamel and perhaps inflamed gums. They will react badly to the presence of highly acidic soft drinks. If they have high sugar content, the disaster could be doubly bad. Either the sugar or the acid is enough to dissolve the already mineral-depleted enamel resulting in a cavity on the enamel.