One of the most important things to think about after getting braces put on is changing your eating habits so that the braces do not get broken and your teeth do not suffer. Braces are not able to withstand the pressure that is put on them when you bite into many types of foods, so continuing to eat as you normally would can cause your braces to break, possibly injuring you or impacting the effectiveness of your treatment. This doesn’t mean that you need to change everything, though; it just means that you need to make some changes to the way you eat to accommodate the braces.

Braces Diet

Eat Softer Foods

When you first get your braces on and for a few days after getting braces tightened, orthodontists recommend that you opt for soft foods. Foods like mashed potatoes, applesauce, yogurt, rice, and spinach are among the many things that can be eaten. Avoid going on an ice cream binge or leaning towards unhealthy foods that you wouldn’t normally eat just because they are soft. It is as important as ever to make sure that you still maintain a healthy diet.

Cut Foods into Pieces

After your teeth begin to adjust to braces and the tension abates, it can be tempting to dive into your favorite foods without reservation. Even after the tension has subsided, however, you still run the risk of breaking your braces or harming your teeth with certain foods. To avoid depriving yourself while keeping your teeth and braces safe, you can cut up some of your favorite foods so that you can still eat these foods without the risk. Pizza, sandwiches, fresh fruit, and meats should be cut small for best results.

Avoid Sticky and Sugary Foods

Foods and even beverages that are extremely sugary or sticky (think taffy and soda) can get stuck in braces brackets and on your teeth. The sticky residue from these foods can make it very difficult for you to clean your teeth and braces well, which may result in sugar and acid being left on your teeth.

You may wish to take the opportunity to improve your diet and begin staying away from sticky and sugary types of foods altogether. Since many types of foods that are healthy are okay to eat with braces, opting for a healthier diet may make it easier to stay away from foods that are not recommended while wearing braces.

If you’re ready to get started with braces, call us today at 407-447-9060.

Crooked Teeth

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. The disease causes gums to become inflamed and bleed, even in early stages. Nearly 50 percent of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease. Crooked teeth can contribute to the development of periodontal disease, so receiving orthodontic treatment may help to lower a patient’s risk of developing periodontal disease.

Dangers of Periodontal Disease

When gingivitis is not treated early enough and it advances to periodontal disease, or periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets which become infected. The body’s immune system attempts to fight off the bacteria, which lowers the body’s general immune resistance. As the body fights the infection in the gums, the tissue and bone is naturally broken down, which may eventually result in the teeth becoming loose and falling out or having to be removed.

Periodontal disease has also been linked to increased risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Blood sugar complications in diabetics
  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Premature birth

Periodontal Disease Prevention

Misaligned or crowded teeth can make it much harder for patients to properly clean the teeth. Food is more likely to stay trapped in hard to reach places, contributing to the build-up of plaque and tartar that causes periodontal disease. Receiving orthodontic treatment to correct misalignments and overcrowding can help prevent the development of periodontal disease. Avoiding smoking, excessive drinking, and an unbalanced diet will also help patients to avoid periodontal disease.

Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease

Unfortunately, some risk factors for periodontal disease are unavoidable. Patients may be genetically predisposed to periodontal disease, or may become more prone to the disease because of hormonal changes occurring during puberty or menopause. Diabetes may increase the risk of periodontal disease, especially if blood sugar is not controlled well. Certain medications that inhibit the body’s ability to produce saliva may also increase the risk of developing periodontal disease. When patients are at increased risk of developing periodontal disease due to the presence of these risk factors, patients can help to lower the risk by focusing on tooth care and taking preventative measures.

Periodontal Disease and Braces

Braces may correct misalignments and straighten crooked teeth, which can help to reduce the risk of periodontal disease. However, patients should have braces installed prior to the age of 30 and before there are any signs of periodontal disease for this measure to be most effective. If patients have already developed gum disease, gingivitis, or periodontal disease, orthodontists may be hesitant to recommend braces. Braces make it more difficult for patients to clean the gums thoroughly, so the disease may worsen after braces have been placed. It is much easier to prevent periodontal disease than it is to treat the disease after it has developed, so patients should focus on oral and orthodontic care early for best results.

Soda Tooth Decay

When patients get braces put on, there are many small changes that must be made to diet and daily routine in order to ensure that teeth stay healthy underneath the braces. While most patients understand that teeth must be brushed and flossed more often, many neglect to follow dietary instructions. One of the worst things that a patient can do to their teeth after having braces installed is continue to sip soda and other soft drinks.

What Soda Does to Teeth

Soda contains high quantities of acids and sugar. The acids can weaken tooth enamel and eventually lead to cavities and soda tooth decay. The sugar can get stuck in between braces and teeth and stay on teeth, causing the area of the tooth that is hidden beneath the braces to rot. When braces are removed, the decay is revealed. Depending on the extent of the damage, teeth may need to be whitened, filled, or extracted.

Is Diet Soda or Tea Better Than Soda?

Diet soda is only marginally better for teeth than regular soda. While regular soda contains sugar and acid, diet soda contains artificial sweeteners and acid, which can still cause tooth decay. Iced tea or hot tea that is fresh brewed typically contains a small amount of acid, if any, but bottled tea that is store bought may contain acid as a preservative. Tea that is sweetened will pose the same problems to teeth that soda does with sugar content. Tea and soda, whether it is diet or regular, may also stain the teeth.

Must Soda Be Completely Avoided?

Avoiding soda will help patients to avoid many of the issues of tooth decay discussed above. However, for patients that really enjoy soda, drinking a soda once in a great while will not harm the teeth if proper precautions are taken. Soda should never be sipped over long periods of time, as the prolonged exposure to the sugar and acid can cause the substances to become caught in between the braces and teeth and removal may be difficult. Instead, the entire soda should be drunk within a fifteen minute and water should be swished in the mouth afterward. The teeth should be brushed as soon as possible afterward, in order to remove as much sugar and acid from the teeth as possible.

Helping Children Avoid Soda

Children that are used to drinking soda daily may have a hard time adjusted to the dietary change. Parents can help to support the child by joining the child in the effort to avoid soda. Stocking the house with water, fruit juices, and other beverages that are not as harmful as soda can help to make the transition easier. Children will be thankful for the support when their smile is white and healthy after braces have been removed.