If your child has braces, candy consumption is a concern. While all sweet treats are not verboten to those who are currently wearing traditional braces, certain types of confections must be avoided to prevent ruining orthodontic work and causing tooth decay. Below are the dos and don’ts of consuming candy and other treats when you have braces.
DON’T eat anything sticky, chewy or gummy. These are by far the worst candies for kids with braces. Not only does the consistency of taffy, caramels and similar sweets make them almost impossible to clean out of braces, but the sugar left behind in hard-to-reach areas causes tooth decay — which leads to cavities.
DO reach for chocolate. Simple chocolate bars are usually the safest candy for those with braces. Avoid anything with nuts, which can break the brackets of orthodontic equipment.
DON’T opt for candy-coated treats, like Skittles or M&M’s, for example. The tiny pieces of candy can get trapped inside braces, irritating gums and leading to infection and decay.
DO think about alternate treats. Milkshakes, cookies, cupcakes and smoothies are easy to make at home and don’t carry the same danger that candy does for braces-wearers. For example, let your child decorate special sugar cookies as a Halloween treat for his or her class.
DON’T chew hard candies. While peppermints and similar types of sweets are safe to suck on, biting them can cause serious damage. So lollipops are okay for your child with braces as long as he or she is old enough to understand that it’s limited to licking.
DO look for “braces-friendly” recipes. Several cookbooks and websites are devoted to recipes that won’t damage the teeth or orthodontic work of those with braces. This might be a fun treat for a kid who misses a favorite meal.
DON’T automatically okay salty foods, either. Popcorn balls are popular for Halloween, but the small pieces are difficult to get out of braces, and biting hard snacks like pretzels can bend or break the brackets. Even fruits, such as apples, should be thinly sliced for kids with braces; biting into the whole fruit can cause damage.
DO limit candy rather than outlawing it outright. Most kids have a sweet tooth, so banning candy completely can backfire. A better strategy? Allow them to eat one “safe” treat each day.
During a consultation at Runnels Orthodontics in Destin or Panama City Beach, our team of orthodontic professionals can give you all the facts when it comes to candy consumption and braces. We are proud to serve the following areas: Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Panama City Beach and Panama City. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.