Can I Eat Candy With Braces?

How to Handle Sugar Cravings When You Have Braces

teen girl with braces eating candy
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If you have braces and a sugar craving comes along, you might be tempted to sink your teeth into an oozy, gooey candy bar. But can you eat candy with braces? If you've had to ask yourself this very question, the answer probably isn't too surprising.

There are tons of foods you can and can't eat with braces. Unfortunately, one of those foods that you can't eat is candy. Candy is specifically not recommended for a number of reasons.

Understanding why and how eating candy when you have braces will affect your chances of completing a successful orthodontic treatment - which ultimately affects the health of your teeth and gums in the long run - will hopefully help diminish your cravings for sweet treats while you have braces, and hopefully beyond your orthodontic treatment as well.

It's All About the Sugar

Let's take a look at the obvious: candy is bad for you, whether you have braces or not. It's loaded with sugar, which is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are what fuel the bacteria on your teeth to produce acids that cause tooth decay to form. For a tooth without braces, candy is a huge threat. Add in the brackets and bands that are necessary during orthodontic treatment and your teeth will most certainly be facing the nightmarish experience of tooth decay.

When you take the overall amount of sugar you're consuming into account, as well as the difficulty of reaching every surface of the tooth and around the bracket and band attachments with your toothbrush and dental floss, simply avoiding candy in the first place outweighs giving into temptation.

Sticky, Hard, Ooey Gooey - It's All the Same

Candy comes in a number of different forms, but it's really all the same when you consider eating candy with braces. From hard, mint-like candies, to sticky toffee and gooey chocolate bars, candy does a number on your braces, regardless of its form.

When you bite into a hard or sticky piece of candy without braces, your tooth is stressed by the force it takes to break down and chew the piece of candy.

With braces on your teeth, biting into a hard piece of candy will put additional force onto the bracket or band attachment, along with the tooth.

More often than not, the bracket or band will succumb to the force it takes to eat the candy, and they will break or pop off. When a bracket or band becomes loose, your orthodontic treatment comes to a screeching halt until you are able to see your orthodontist to have the problem repaired. For most patients, a loose band or bracket will set their treatment back 1 to 2 months.

Ouch! That Hurts!

Cavities hurt your teeth. That's obvious. But what isn't so obvious is how all of that hard, sticky, gooey candy can hurt your teeth in other ways. Aside from the force and effort, it takes to eat really sticky or hard candy that can ultimately damage your braces, imagine how your teeth feel after an archwire adjustment.

Most of you with braces understand exactly what I'm talking about, but for those of you who are new to braces, your teeth are usually very sensitive and ache while you have braces on your teeth, especially after an archwire adjustment.

Now picture yourself trying to bite into a piece of hard candy. Your teeth will scream in horror because they are so sensitive to pressure.

Candy Alternatives

Enjoying a piece of candy is not worth the pain and anguish that comes with these hard-to-resist treats, but there are alternatives to candy that can help to satisfy your sweet tooth while being friendly to your teeth.

It is generally okay to enjoy something sweet from time to time because let's face it, sweets are a part of life. If you find yourself really craving something sweet, put down the candy and consider baking or preparing something sweet from a braces-friendly recipe book.

Once your sweet tooth has finally been put to rest, always ensure that you brush and floss immediately after consuming sugar.

Sources:

The American Association of Orthodontists. Press Release: "Braces-Wearers Beware: Certain Sweet Treats Can Bite Back." http://www.braces.org/NOHM/Press-Releases.cfm. Accessed: October 5, 2010

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