We will go to great lengths to make sure the placement and construction of your orthodontic appliances will achieve beautiful and efficient results. But we’ll need your help.
We encourage you to take care of your braces by keeping them clean and avoiding certain foods that might cause damage. Keep in mind – breakage of your braces results in extra appointments for repairs, and a longer overall treatment time.
What Not To Eat
Hard foods can damage braces by bending wires or snapping the brackets off your teeth. Please avoid nuts, hard pretzels, hard pizza crust, chips and ice. Ice is an absolute no-no; it is a bracket’s worst enemy (let’s face it, it’s not great for your teeth either!).
Some hard foods can be eaten if prepared carefully:
- Carrots or celery: grate, cook or cut into thin pieces
- Apples: cut into bite sized pieces
- French bread, hard rolls, bagels: avoid hard crusts
- Corn on the cob, chicken, ribs: cut corn off the cob and meat off the bone
Sticky foods can damage the appliances by bending wires and pulling brackets loose. Please do not eat Taffy, sugar daddies, peanut brittle, caramels, candy apples, licorice or any of the currently popular types of sticky candies such as Starburst, Skittles or Now and Laters.
Gum is the epitome of sticky candy. No gum of any kind, please.
It’s not the end of the world. Really.
While this may seem like a long list of things you can’t eat, remember that adhering to these guidelines will make your path to a beautiful smile that much easier. That beautiful smile will be with you forever; the caramels can wait until your braces come off!
Plaque and food debris accumulate on the surfaces of the teeth, especially around brackets, bands and wires, and can cause tooth decay and gum disease. It is important to clean your teeth and brackets to prevent this from happening. Please brush your teeth immediately after each meal and remember that extra time and care should be given to oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment.
An interdental toothbrush is designed to clean areas that a regular toothbrush cannot reach. Using an interdental toothbrush, clean around the brackets and under the wires with slow, repetitive movements.
Flossing is more difficult during orthodontic treatment, but it’s as important as ever. You may find it necessary to insert the floss under the wire with a device called a floss threader and then slide the floss gently between your teeth. Be careful not to apply too strong a force on the wire. Superfloss, a special kind of thick, fluffy floss may be helpful for cleaning under the wires. Remember to use gentle movements and not to snap the floss. Flossing can injure your gums if done improperly. Do not forget to floss all your teeth, including those in the back.
Cleaning a Removable Appliance
An appliance tends to accumulate plaque and food debris just the way teeth do. It should be cleaned daily with a toothbrush. You should also soak your appliance several times a week in a glass of lukewarm tap water with one or two denture-cleaning tablets. Whenever you’re not using the appliance, keep it in water. You may add a little mouthwash to keep it fresh. Do not use hot water, which could damage the appliance. Appliances are breakable. If they become damaged, they must be replaced. (They must also be replaced if they are lost or accidentally thrown away as you empty your lunch tray. In addition to keeping it clean, keep tabs on it when you’re not wearing it!)