Oral Hygiene

v-bracesCleaning Your Braces

Along with watching your diet, cleaning your teeth and braces is very important for the health of your teeth and gums. When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth use the food to grow and multiply. This mass of bacteria and food debris left on your teeth is called plaque. The bacteria turn the sugars in the food you eat into acids, which can cause your teeth to dissolve.

Brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush is the first part of cleaning your teeth and braces after eating. A special way of brushing your teeth will be demonstrated when you get your braces. Flossing is possible with braces. You can thread the floss under the wire to floss each contact point.

If you are having problems keeping plaque off of your teeth, some auxiliary cleaning aids may be helpful. The use of a Water Pic is very helpful in cleaning around your braces during orthodontic treatment. It should be used along with brushing to clean the teeth and gums. Rubber tips or small interproximal (in between teeth) brushes can also be used. These aids are available in drug stores or discount stores and can be purchased without a prescription.

Some Foods to Avoid with Your Braces

While wearing braces, there are some foods you will have to avoid or eat differently. Foods with high sugar content should be avoided as much as possible. If you do eat these foods, it should be with meals as a dessert. Soft drinks should also be avoided. If you drink them, it should be with meals and you should brush after eating. If you can’t brush, rinse your mouth with water several times after eating and drinking.

Hard fruit and vegetables should be cut into small pieces so they will be easier to chew. Cooking these foods helps to make them softer. When eating chicken wings, spare ribs and similar foods, meat should be removed from the bones prior to eating. Biting the bones could make your braces come off.

This list will serve as a guide to help you avoid damage to your braces. Any breakage or bending will prolong the time you have to wear your braces.

Examples of sticky foods to avoid are:

  • Gum drops
  • All gum
  • Taffy
  • Air Heads
  • Blow Pops
  • Starburst
  • Caramel Corn

Some hard foods to avoid:

  • Fritos
  • Tortilla chips
  • Jerky
  • Hard nuts
  • Crispy French Fries
  • Pizza crust
  • Hard cereal

Snacks you can have:

  • Potato chips (Pringles, Lays, Ruffles, etc.)
  • Popcorn
  • Pudding
  • Applesauce
  • Bugles
  • Soft tacos
  • Soft cookies

Candy you can have:

  • Plain Hershey Bars
  • Kit Kat Bars
  • Nestles Crunch
  • Reese’s Sticks
  • Three Musketeers
  • Plain Hershey Kisses
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

All these candy bars should be broken into pieces before you eat them. Remember to brush immediately!!!