Foods to Avoid with Braces
Some foods are a danger to the orthodontic appliances. These foods could break brackets off of teeth or bend the wires, either lengthening overall treatment time or compromising treatment results. Avoid anything that seems like it may pop a bracket off or could bend your wires. As a general rule, if you can’t squish it with your fingers, it’s probably not okay! Common culprits- hidden popcorn kernels, hard chips, ice, or thick or chewy foods like bagels, pizza crust, carrots, gummy candy. Don’t eat anything that you normally have to bite off (apples, corn, carrots, beef jerky), unless you cut it into small pieces first. Please don’t chew on pens/pencils, fingernails, silverware, or any other item.
Other foods are a danger to the health of your teeth regardless of whether you have braces or not. Foods that can get stuck on teeth around nooks and crannies adjacent to brackets and under wires—especially if proper oral hygiene is lacking—are a particular threat to dental health. Obvious culprits are foods and drinks high in sugar and/or acidity such as candy, sugary baked goods, soda and sports drinks. Less obvious, but arguably equally dangerous culprits, are foods high in starch such as cereals, chips, and crackers. The best defense is regular and thorough brushing.
Oral Hygiene with Braces
PLEASE keep your regular hygiene visits with your general dentist’s office. They’ll be able to monitor the health of your gums and teeth. However, the small and simple things you do every day are of far greater importance than infrequent big things. You must keep your teeth, gums, and orthodontic appliances clean for your own health.
Brush at least morning and NIGHT, as well as after every meal. You need to brush for as long as it takes to clean the debris from each tooth (usually 3min). Special attention: the most commonly missed areas are between the bracket and the gums as this is where we most commonly find early stages of cavities after braces are removed. Avoid snacking and grazing. It’s not how much you eat, but how frequently you eat (and brush) that plays the greatest role in developing or preventing cavities.
Flossing doesn’t come naturally to many, even without braces. But that’s no excuse to give up! Now is a great time to develop a good habit that can greatly reduce the risk of developing cavities now and throughout life. This should be done daily. Some like water flossers. Whatever you use is better than nothing at all.
Mouthwash is NO SUBSTITUTE for brushing and flossing. However, a non-alcoholic mouth rinse with fluoride after brushing and flossing can help prevent cavities by strengthening tooth enamel without drying out the oral tissues.