Conversation hearts, boxes of chocolates, or pink and red lollipops all scream Valentine’s Day. But, for patients with braces or other orthodontic work, not all of these candies are equally sweet! Rather than risking damage to your wires or brackets this holiday, treat your braces and teeth with love. We’ve compiled our top tips to help you determine which sweets are braces-friendly and which are better left uneaten.
Candies to Avoid
Candies are not all equally safe for braces. This holiday, sticky candies are very likely to damage your braces, so be sure to avoid them. Options like gum, caramel, or Jelly Belly stick to wires, brackets, or teeth, ultimately putting orthodontics at risk. Even worse, sticky candy residue and particles tend to linger on teeth longer—even after brushing—contributing to tooth decay and cavities.
Chewy candies are also problems for your braces. Some options, like Tootsie Rolls, not only get stuck in braces, but also could possibly stain them. As often as possible, avoid candies like Twizzlers, Air Heads, or salt water taffy since all of these can cause problems with wires, bending them or causing them to shift positions while you chew.
Finally, avoid hard candies. Chewing on hard candy poses an immediate threat to your wires and braces. Even if patients resist the urge to bite down on sticky, hard candies, many options, like jawbreakers, are meant to stay in the mouth for a long period of time, allowing tooth-decaying acid more time to eat away at enamel. Therefore, options like Jolly Ranchers, rock candy, lollipops, and unfortunately, conversation hearts, not only threaten orthodontic work, but also damage tooth health, too.
Better Options for Teeth and Orthodontics
Instead of risking damage to your braces, the American Association of Orthodontists urges patients with braces to try softer foods or candy during Valentine’s Day. If you want to treat your valentine to something traditional, stick to soft chocolates—the darker the better! Hershey’s Bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, or Kit Kats are perfect since they are easy to brush off of teeth and braces without bending or dislodging any part of your orthodontics. If you aren’t a fan of soft chocolates, or if you want more sweet options, try ice cream, cupcakes, hot cocoa, or soft cookies. These are great candy substitutes for Valentine’s Day—as long as you remember to brush your teeth!
While these suggestions are ideal for patients with braces, even patients with removable aligners or without orthodontic work can benefit from these tips. When in doubt, soft, non-sticky, non-acidic candies are typically better for orthodontics, though, choosing to avoid excessive sugar altogether is always the sweetest for your oral hygiene! If you have any questions about caring for your braces or if you want to schedule an appointment, call us today. We can’t wait to help you get your happiest, healthiest smile yet.