SETH V. SENESTRARO, DDS, MS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics

Navigating Holiday Sweets

The holidays can be a tricky time of year for those of us who are having orthodontic treatment done– cookies, candy, and endless snacking can place a bit of pressure on your braces, and on your (admittedly, quite outstanding) skills in oral health.

This season, enjoy the holidays and keep your oral health in peak condition with these tips from your Milkwaukie and Tillamook, OR orthodontist.

Say “no thanks” to snacks

Snacking is possibly the most tempting– and can be the most damaging– of holiday mishaps. While your team at Copper Creek Orthodontics wants you to enjoy your favorite cookies, chocolates, and seasonal treats, we’re also aware of what a toll these temporary pleasures place on your oral health.

When you snack, you inadvertently provide cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth with food in the form of sugar. Bacteria eat the sugar, and the metabolic byproduct of sugar is acid– this eats at your dental enamel and can cause cavities. The problem with snacking is you probably don’t brush every time, so that bacteria-causing food sticks around– giving bacteria plenty of time to do their dirty work in your mouth!

Patients having orthodontic work are especially vulnerable to snacking’s side-effects. While your dazzling smile is just around the corner, for the moment, at least, oral hygiene is a little extra challenging with orthodontic equipment in the picture. This equipment gives bacteria even more places to hiding, making it even more important to brush and floss in between meals.

The solution, however, is simple. Save your special treats for dessert after a healthy, balanced meal, and enjoy them then! This makes it far easier to brush, floss, and maintain oral hygiene, but ensures that you will get to taste the season as well.

Choose your sweets wisely

It sounds a little funny hearing an orthodontist encouraging sweets, but the truth is– we know most of us “cheat” a little bit over the holidays, and we want you to enjoy the season. So here are a couple ideas on how to “cheat” responsibly!

  • Avoid candied nuts. These are delicious, and they will leave delicious, rock-hard, nuggets of sugar in hard-to-reach-places in your mouth. Enjoy these treats after your orthodontic equipment has been removed.
  • Avoid caramel and taffy– for the same reason. As mouthwatering as homemade taffy is, it is kryptonite to orthodontic equipment. Save your taffy-eating for later.
  • Skip the peanut brittle, candy canes, and more… anything crunchy and sweet, like these treats, can get lodged in orthodontic equipment, and in rare instances, harm it.
  • But eat chocolate! Chocolate will never get mixed up in your mouth because it melts away. This is the orthodontic patient’s saving grace when it comes to holiday treats… go ahead and bite off a mouthful of chocolate Santa– after a balanced meal and before brushing, of course!

In need of other holiday tips?

Don’t hesitate to contact us at Copper Creek Orthodontics, and be sure to schedule your next appointment with your Milwaukie and Tillamook, OR orthodontist.

Photo Credit: mezuni via Compfight cc

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