It is important to be conscious of how your food choices can possibly damage your braces or other appliances. Remember that every loose bracket will extend your treatment time by at least 2 months. Here are some examples of foods you should avoid:
- Popcorn: Shells tend to get stuck between your braces and the gums and are difficult to remove.
- Ice: Eating ice will crack the cement that bonds the braces to the teeth.
- Hard foods, such as pretzels, corn chips, nuts, cookies, and beef jerky.
- Hard and/or chewy candy, such as caramel, Starburst®, gummy bears, jawbreakers, and suckers.
- Raw fruit and vegetables, such as apples and carrots. These foods are safer to eat if you cut them into bite-size pieces.
- Corn: Corn can be eaten if it is scraped off the cob.
- Sugary foods, sports drinks, and soft drinks. When you have these types of food, brush immediately afterward.
Note: Be sure to keep foreign objects, such as pen caps and pencils, out of your mouth.
Problems You May Encounter
- If a band or bracket breaks off the tooth, keep the damaged band or bracket clean. Call our office for an emergency appointment. Save any part that comes completely loose.
- If an arch wire breaks loose from brackets, use tweezers to place the wire back in the bracket, if possible. If this is not possible, clip the wire with a fingernail clipper behind the last secure bracket. Call our office for an emergency appointment.
- If a tie wire starts poking the inside of your mouth, tuck the wire away with a blunt object, such as a popsicle stick or spoon. If this is not possible, cover the wire with a piece of wax. Call our office to make an emergency appointment.
- If you lose a tie wire or elastic tie, it is not an emergency, and we will replace it when it is convenient for you to return to the office.
- If you have an accident involving your teeth, call our office to make an appointment as soon as it is convenient.
- If you experience soreness, it is to be expected during orthodontic treatment. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water (1/8 tsp of salt and 8 ounces of water) can alleviate the pain.
Tips for Keeping Your Teeth Clean
Brackets, wires, and bands can trap food particles and make it difficult to brush away plaque, the layer of harmful bacteria that attacks teeth and gums, causing tooth decay. Here are some simple things you can do to maintain a healthy set of teeth while you have braces:
- Try to brush your teeth after every meal or snack.
- You can carry a kit containing toothpaste and brush for when you’re not home.
- You can also try rinsing with water until you have the opportunity to brush properly.
- When brushing your bottom teeth, angle your toothbrush upward to clean the area between the gums and the bracket. When brushing your upper teeth, angle your toothbrush downward.
- Floss at least once a day.
- This can be tricky with braces at first, but you will get the hang of it.
- A floss threader will be very helpful in getting the floss behind the arch wire.
- Use fluoride nightly to help prevent cavities.
Water Flosser (Waterpik®):
- A water flosser shoots a strong stream of water between teeth to clean.
- Although this is helpful, it is not a substitute for what your toothbrush and floss do.
Keeping Your Gums Clean
- This recipe is an excellent method for removing bacterial plaque and producing fresh breath. Mix 1 tbsp baking soda, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp water, and 1 tsp 3% hydrogen peroxide into paste. Before bedtime, rub paste between teeth and gums. Brush vigorously using a nylon toothbrush. Rinse with warm water and brush again with a fluoride toothpaste.