How to Care for your Braces

Summerhill Orthodontist

How to Care for Your Braces

Taking care of your orthodontic appliances is vital to remaining on schedule with your treatment and achieving the best possible treatment result. Though your appliances are made of strong materials, failure to care for them by following basic guidelines may result in extended treatment time, failure to complete treatment or dental or periodontal disease. Below you will find guidelines that will prove to be helpful.

Braces Guidelines

  • Avoid sticky, chewy, hard, crunchy and sugary foods.
  • Cut raw fruits and vegetables into small bites before eating.
  • Remove corn from the cob and meat from bones before eating.
  • Use a mouth guard during sports. The Shock Doctor mouth guard is available online and at most sporting goods stores.
  • Limit consumption of beverages high in sugar and carbonation.
  • Continue seeing your general dentist for your regular 6-month check-ups for evaluation and cleaning.
  • Continue your normal recommended oral hygiene regimen. Floss, brush and rinse 2 to 3 times daily. It is best to brush and rinse after every meal and/or snack.
  • Discontinue any bad habits; like finger sucking, chewing on pens and pencils, and nail biting/ that negatively impact your teeth.
  • Make and arrive to your appointments on time.
  • Avoid chewing on pens, pencils or your fingernails.
  • Call if you have something loose or broken! We need to know in ADVANCE so we can schedule more time to repair broken appliances.

Foods to Limit or Avoid

  • Sticky/Chewy:
    • Caramel, taffy, Now and Later, Starburst, Tootsie Rolls, gummy bears, beef jerky, tough pizza crust, bagels, pretzels, large pieces of tough meat like steak
  • Hard/Crunchy:
    • Ice, peppermint, blow pops, Jolly Ranchers, nuts, Takis, tortilla chips, Doritos, Fritos, corn nuts, pretzels, crispy french fries, Sunflower seeds, Fire Balls, Nerds, Life Savers, hard cookies, corn nuts
  • Sugary:
    • Soda, energy drinks, juice, cake, pasties, pie, ice cream
  • Others:
    • Popcorn, pens, pencils, coffee, tea, curry

Brushing and Flossing with Braces

  1. If you have been instructed to wear elastics (rubber bands), please remove them prior to brushing.
  2. Use a soft to medium bristle toothbrush and toothpaste to carefully clean around wires, brackets, bands and hooks.
    • Move top to bottom, and all the way around upper and lower teeth.
    • Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice daily. That means each quadrant of your mouth gets 30 seconds.
  3. Rinse with mouthwash and check for any remaining food particles, plaque or debris.
  4. Use waxed floss (about 18 inches of floss) and a floss threader or superfloss to floss. Unwaxed floss is more likely to get caught and shred in your braces.
    • Thread the floss and threader or superfloss carefully under the main wire before passing between two teeth. Don’t snap it – simply move up and down gently, remove, and move on to the next pair of teeth.

*Parents: Do the flossing for younger children who lack the coordination to thread the floss under the main wire of their braces.

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