June 8, 2017
Hard candy is very popular, and comes in nearly every flavor and size imaginable. But, it can also be very destructive to teeth and oral appliances alike. If your child has an oral appliance, then you should consider these things before letting them eat hard candy.
Dirty Appliances can Lead to Cavities
The big issue with a dirty oral appliance is that food debris can get caught and sit on the surface of teeth for long periods of time, which can cause enamel erosion and lead to cavities. A lot of times, food debris can be brushed away with a toothbrush, and that can free your child of any immediate risk to their enamel.
Dirty appliances are also less effective than clean appliances, and more prone to needing repairs, which can be costly and time consuming.
Why Hard Candy is Tough on Oral Appliances
By chewing hard candy, your child risks breaking their oral appliance. Brackets and wires are tough enough to withstand natural foods, but not so tough that they can endure hard candies. Candies like Jolly Ranchers, suckers, peppermints and hard caramels should be avoided to prevent breaking their oral appliance.
Other hard foods to avoid include: chips, corn on the cob, tacos and hard breads.
Hard candy also tends to stick around longer than other food, which exposes teeth to sugar for longer periods of time. Extended contact with sugar can lead to more cavities because sugar provides bad bacteria with the energy it needs to destroy enamel.
Also: Watch out for Sticky Candy
Like hard candy, sticky candy can get stuck in tooth crevices and stay around long after it’s been swallowed. Sticky candy is difficult to remove from teeth, and gives cavity-causing bacteria more time to eat away enamel. Sticky candy also sticks to wires and brackets, which increases the time that teeth are spent contacting sugar.
Sticky foods to avoid include: toffee, tootsie rolls, caramels, gum, licorice and starburst.
Rinse after Meals
A great way to remove food debris from your child’s mouth is by having them rinse immediately after meals. Have your child swish clean water in their mouth for 30 seconds, and then spit it out in a sink. Encourage them to do this after each meal to keep their mouth clean and healthy. But, hard candy often needs to be scrubbed away. So, if your child decides to have some hard candy, make sure they brush, swish, and maybe even floss afterwards so that they can rid their teeth of damaging candy debris.
Has Your Child Broken Their Oral Appliance?
If your child has broken their oral appliance, then it’s imperative that you visit their orthodontist to repair the damage. Damaged appliances are less effective, and can hurt your child’s teeth.