Choosing the right snacks and treats when you have braces can feel daunting, as certain candies and foods can damage your braces or cause discomfort. However, navigating the candy aisle doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little bit of knowledge and careful selection, you can still indulge in a variety of sweets while maintaining the health and integrity of your braces. In this article, we’ll delve into braces-friendly candies, providing guidance on what treats you can enjoy without risking your braces.

Risks of Eating Candy with Braces

When you have braces, it’s more than just a journey to a beautiful smile; it’s a commitment to taking care of your teeth in ways you might not have considered before. One of the temptations we often overlook is the impact of candy on your orthodontic treatment. While it’s hard to resist a sweet treat, understanding the risks of eating candy with braces can help you make informed choices that protect your braces and teeth. Here’s what you should know:

  • Damage to Braces – Candy, especially the hard or sticky kinds, can be a real troublemaker for braces. Biting into a hard candy can bend wires, snap brackets, or even loosen the bands that are essential in straightening your teeth. Sticky candies can get caught and pull on these delicate parts, leading to unexpected visits to your orthodontist for repairs. This not only extends the time you have to wear braces but also increases the overall cost of your treatment.
  • Increased Risk of Cavities – Braces create tiny nooks and crannies where candy particles can hide, making it challenging to clean your teeth effectively. When sugar from candy sits on your teeth and braces, it becomes a feast for bacteria, leading to plaque buildup. Over time, this can cause cavities and gum problems, which can complicate your orthodontic treatment. Keeping your teeth clean is harder with braces, so adding extra sugar into the mix can make maintaining oral health a real battle.
  • Discoloration of Teeth – Consuming a lot of candies, particularly those with strong colors, can lead to staining and discoloration. This means that even after your braces are removed, you might not be happy with the color of your teeth, leading to the need for additional treatments to correct the discoloration.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to give up sweets altogether. The key is moderation and choosing brace-friendly options that won’t harm your teeth or your orthodontic progress. By being mindful of the sweets you eat, you’re not just protecting your braces; you’re investing in the health and beauty of your smile for the long term.

Safe Candies for Braces

Navigating the world of sweets with braces might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to treats altogether. There are several types of candy that you can still enjoy without jeopardizing your braces or dental health. Let’s explore some safe options that allow you to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping your orthodontic treatment on track.

  • Soft Chocolates – Soft chocolates are a great choice for those with braces. Unlike hard or chewy candies, chocolates, especially those without nuts or caramel, melt in your mouth and pose little risk to braces. Enjoying a piece of smooth, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate can be a safe and satisfying way to indulge your cravings.
  • Plain Chocolate Bars – Opt for plain chocolate bars without nuts, toffee, or crunchy elements. These bars offer the sweetness you’re craving without the risk of damaging your braces. Plus, chocolate is easier to clean off your teeth than sticky candies, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease.
  • Soft Candies – These include soft fruit chews, marshmallows, Jell-O, cotton candy, smoothie pops, peanut butter cups, peppermint patties, candy corn, and soft truffles. However, it’s still important to brush thoroughly after indulging to ensure that no sugar remains, which could increase the risk of tooth decay.
  • Sugar-Free Gum – While traditional gum is off-limits for those with braces, we recommend having sugar-free gum. It can help stimulate saliva production, which helps protect your teeth against cavities. Just be sure to choose a brand that is specifically labeled as safe for braces.

Enjoying brace-friendly sweets in moderation, followed by thorough brushing, ensures that you can have your cake (or candy) and eat it, too, without compromising your orthodontic progress. Always consult with your orthodontist if you’re unsure about certain foods.

What Candy Can You Eat With Braces

Candies to Avoid

Some candies can pose risks to your braces and overall dental health. Knowing which candies to avoid can save you from unexpected visits to your orthodontist and keep your treatment in check. Let’s explore the types of candies best left on the store shelf:

  • Hard Candies – Tempting as they may be, hard candies are a no-go for braces wearers. Hard candies such as Jolly Ranchers, lollipops, candy canes, toffee, brittle, Lifesavers, JawBreakers, peppermints, Suckers, Gobstoppers, and Lemon drops should be avoided when wearing braces.
  • Sticky and Chewy Candies – Sticky candies can pull at brackets and wires, potentially dislodging them. Avoid eating caramels, Laffy Taffy, gummy candies, licorice sticks, Starbursts, fruit roll-ups, fruit snacks, jelly beans, Tootsie Rolls, Skittles, and Airheads when wearing braces.
  • Sugary Gum – Gum, especially sugary varieties, can stick to braces and pull on the wires and brackets. This can lead to damage or even necessitate an emergency orthodontic visit to repair. Make sure to avoid sugary gums like Bubble Yum, Bubblicious, Hubba Bubba, Juicy Fruit, Double Bubble, and Bazooka Joe when wearing braces.
  • Sour Candies – Sour candies often have a high acid content, which can erode tooth enamel over time. This erosion makes your teeth more vulnerable to cavities and sensitivity, complicating your orthodontic treatment. Avoid eating sour candies like Sour Patch Kids, Warheads, sour Skittles, Sour Punch Straws, AirHeads Xtremes, Lemonheads, and Toxic Waste when wearing braces.
  • Popcorn – While not a candy, popcorn deserves a mention. Unpopped kernels can pose a concern to braces, and the shells can easily become lodged in braces and between teeth, increasing the risk of gum disease.

Understanding what to avoid doesn’t mean you’re facing a world without delicious treats. It’s about making informed choices to protect your braces and ensure your orthodontic journey leads to the confident smile you’re looking forward to.

Tips for Eating Candy with Braces

Indulging in your favorite candy while wearing braces doesn’t have to be off-limits, as long as you navigate your choices wisely. Here are some helpful tips for enjoying candy without compromising your orthodontic treatment. These guidelines aim to help you maintain your braces and oral health while still allowing for the occasional sweet treat.

  • Cut into Small Pieces – Larger pieces of candy can be challenging to eat with braces and may cause damage. Cutting candy into smaller pieces can help you enjoy it safely, reducing the risk of bending wires or dislodging brackets.
  • Brush and Floss After Indulging – It’s essential to brush and floss after eating candy to remove any sugar or candy debris that can lead to plaque buildup or cavities. Pay extra attention to the areas around your braces and between your teeth.
  • Limit Your Consumption – Enjoying candy in moderation is key. Not only does this help protect your braces, but it also supports your overall dental health. Consider saving candy for special occasions or as an occasional treat.
  • Drink Water – Drinking water after eating candy can help rinse away sugar and acids, reducing the risk of tooth decay. Water can also help dislodge any particles that may have gotten stuck in your braces.
  • Check with Your Orthodontist – If you’re unsure about whether a specific type of candy is safe to eat with braces, don’t hesitate to ask your orthodontist. We will provide personalized advice based on your orthodontic treatment.
  • Be Mindful of Sensitivity – If you experience tooth sensitivity, be cautious with cold or hot treats. Choose room-temperature candies or soft treats that won’t exacerbate sensitivity.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the sweet moments in life without compromising the health of your teeth or the integrity of your braces.

Alternatives to Candy

While braces may require you to adjust your snacking habits, this doesn’t mean you have to miss out on delicious treats. For those looking for alternatives to candy, here are some tasty options:

  • Fresh Fruits – Soft fruits like bananas, berries, and oranges can be a sweet and nutritious snack. They’re packed with vitamins and offer a natural sweetness that can curb your candy cravings. Remember to cut harder fruits into small, bite-sized pieces to make them easier to eat with braces.
  • Yogurt and Smoothies – Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, can be a creamy and delicious treat. Add some honey or blend it with your favorite fruits for a natural sweetener. Smoothies are another great option for mixing fruits and even vegetables for a healthy, drinkable snack that’s gentle on braces.
  • Applesauce – Applesauce is a fantastic alternative when you’re looking for something sweet and easy to eat. Opt for unsweetened versions to keep sugar intake in check.
  • Pudding and Gelatin – Pudding and gelatin desserts can satisfy your dessert cravings without sticking to your braces. They come in various flavors, ensuring there’s always something new to enjoy.
  • Soft Baked Goods – Soft baked goods like muffins (without nuts), soft cookies, or banana bread can be safe options when you’re craving something sweet. Just be sure they’re not too hard or filled with crunchy ingredients.
  • Frozen Treats – Ice cream, milkshakes, and frozen yogurt are braces-friendly as long as they don’t contain hard mix-ins like nuts or candy pieces. Sorbet is a refreshing, dairy-free option that’s smooth and easy on your braces.
  • Cheese – For a savory twist, try some cheese. It’s rich and satisfying and can be paired with soft fruits or whole-grain crackers for a balanced snack.
  • Peanut Butter – Smooth peanut butter can be a braces-friendly alternative to more traditional sweet treats, provided it’s consumed in moderation and part of a balanced diet.

Exploring these alternatives to candy offers a way to enjoy treats responsibly while keeping your orthodontic treatment on track. It’s all about finding balance and making choices that support both your health and your happiness.

Dental Care with Braces

Maintaining good dental health is essential, especially when you’re wearing braces. Braces can create nooks and crannies that trap food and plaque, making diligent oral hygiene even more crucial. Here are some tips to help you take the best care of your teeth and braces:

  • Brushing – Brush your teeth thoroughly after every meal and snack, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Pay extra attention to brushing around brackets, wires, and along the gumline to remove any food debris and plaque effectively.
  • Flossing – Flossing might seem challenging with braces, but it’s vital for removing plaque and food particles that a toothbrush can’t reach. Use a floss threader or special orthodontic floss to make the process easier. Be gentle to avoid damaging the wires and brackets.
  • Use Fluoride – Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel and reduces the risk of cavities. Besides fluoride toothpaste, consider using a fluoride mouthwash for added protection. It’s a simple step that can make a big difference in maintaining your dental health.
  • Regular Orthodontic Visits – Maintain your regular orthodontic appointments. During your visits every six to eight weeks for adjustments, we will monitor your oral health and identify any issues early on.
  • Be Mindful of What You Eat – As you’ve learned, some foods and candies can damage braces or increase the risk of dental problems. Embrace braces-friendly foods and avoid those that are hard, sticky, or overly sugary.
  • Protect Your Braces – If you’re involved in sports, consider wearing a mouthguard to protect your braces and mouth from injury. Ask your orthodontist for recommendations on braces-friendly mouthguards.
  • Listen to Your Orthodontist – We are your partners in this journey. Follow our advice, attend all your appointments, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any concerns about your braces or dental care routine.

By following these dental care tips, you’re not just working towards straightening your teeth; you’re ensuring that your smile is as healthy as it is beautiful. Keep up the great work, and know that every step you take in caring for your braces brings you closer to unveiling the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of.

Embarking on your journey to a perfect smile is an exciting decision, and choosing the right partner is key. At Rallis & Bonilla Orthodontics, we’re dedicated to providing personalized, expert care that meets your unique needs and goals. Our friendly team, led by experienced orthodontists, uses the latest technology and techniques to ensure your treatment is as effective, comfortable, and convenient as possible. Whether you’re considering braces for yourself or your child, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Discover how we can help transform your smile and boost your confidence. Contact Rallis and Bonilla Orthodontics today to schedule your consultation at one of our convenient locations. Our North Star Office, 84th Street Office, and Yankee Hill Office are all easy to get to and can help you find the way to a perfect smile.