The leaves are changing, the weather is getting colder, and it’s a time of year when everyone starts to bake, cook, and prepare their favorite fall treats. If you have braces, though, you might want to think twice before eating some of those treats. Eating the wrong ones could cause significant damage to your orthodontic appliances, cause cavities, and probably land you in the orthodontist’s office to correct it. The good news is that braces are temporary, so while you should skip these fall favorite treats this year, you can always enjoy them in a future year when those braces come off.
Popcorn itself isn’t necessarily going to hurt your braces, but the husks that cover the popcorn can cause some serious problems for your braces. These small pieces harden when you pop the corn kernels, and can easily get stuck in between teeth or behind your orthodontia. Even if you’re flossing and brushing regularly, popcorn husks can be small and sneaky and stick in places that will cause infection and pain if they’re not removed.
2: Caramel Apples
You probably already know that eating apples while you have braces is a big no-no, but when you add caramel to whole apples, it gets even more complicated. Your orthodontist may have advised that you could eat an apple if you cut it up to avoid doing damage to your braces, but the sticky caramel should be avoided until you are braces-free, regardless of whether the apple is cut or whole.
3: Suckers and Hard Candies
If you don’t mind sucking on hard candies and suckers until they are completely dissolved, they won’t pose as much risk to your braces, but for people who like to bite into and crunch those hard candies, it’s best to avoid these treats. Even when you suck on them, they can still cause problems for braces-wearers, since you are exposing your teeth to excessive amounts of sugar over a prolonged period of time, which promotes bacteria growth and can cause significant decay. If you do eat hard candies or suckers, make sure to brush shortly after to minimize any damage.
4: Nuts and Nut Brittle
Nuts usually aren’t unhealthy like candy and sugary treats, but they are very hard and crunchy, and small pieces of the nuts can get caught between orthodontic wires and your back teeth, which can lead to decay and tooth damage. Nut brittle, a favorite treat this time of year, is dangerous for the same reason as hard candy and caramel; it’s stick and could get stuck in between braces and teeth or in crevices, and it’s hard so it could damage your braces.
It’s a time of year when treats are all around, and while it might seem like all fall treats are forbidden, there are plenty of things you can eat. In the long run, avoiding much of the sugary treats out there is good for your teeth and your overall health.