Eating is sometimes a challenge with braces. Avoid sweet or sticky foods and candy between meals, they may pop off brackets, disengage wires and always requires extra brushing afterwards. Foods and snacks like hard candy, popcorn, nuts, raw vegetables, ice, corn on the cob, pizza crust, bagels and meat on the bone are out of your diet for the time being. Learn which foods go with braces in a social situation, for example, green vegetables tend to cling to your braces as if by magic. For the duration of your treatment, you will have to learn creative ways to satisfy nutritional requirements. Be sure to cut your harder foods, such as crisp vegetables and fruits into into smaller pieces for easier chewing. High sugar foods should be the smallest part of your diet, as well as acidic foods.
AAO - What to Eat When You Have Braces
Keeping a Healthy Smile
Braces create small ledges, nooks and crannies for food deposits and plaque, which can lead to cavities and gum problems. The bacteria in plaque can turn sugars from food into acids, which attack the tooth's enamel and cause tooth decay. This makes brushing and flossing more important while your wearing braces. When you brush and floss, handle your appliances more carefully so you won’t break or loosen them.
- Be sure to brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush after every meal and before you go to bed. It’s best to use a fluoride toothpaste to help fight cavities. It’s also important to brush gently where your gums and teeth meet, using a circular rolling motion to keep your gingiva healthy.
- A fluoridated mouth rinse will also help prevent cavities, decrease the bacterial levels and keep your breath fresh. Flouridated therapeutic rinses contain anti-bacterial and anti-cariogenic (cavity-fighting) ingredients which help ensure overall oral health.
- Your toothbrush won’t reach between your teeth, and brushing alone won’t keep your teeth clean and healthy. Daily flossing can help. A floss threader, available from your orthodontist or pharmacy, helps you floss with the braces on.
- The cleaner you keep your teeth during orthodontic treatment, the better the results and the faster your treatment may be in the end!
AAO - Brushing and Flossing While Wearing Braces
Orthodontic Treatment Success
You can help to insure orthodontic treatment success by being an active participant in your care.
- Follow all instructions from the orthodontic team
- Keep your braces/appliances clean, by brushing and flossing routinely
- Wear elastics and appliances as instructed
- Keep your appointments
- Watch what you eat and eat a healthy diet
- Maintain your smile by wearing your retainers as instructed
Protection for an active lifestyle
Braces should not be a hindrance for anyone with an active lifestyle, such as playing sports (football, softball, baseball, soccer, basketball, etc.). No matter how aggressive the sport, precautions are necessary for your well being. If you wear braces you need to protect your teeth and your orthodontic appliances from any injury that may occur. We always recommend that a patient wear a mouth guard while playing any sport. We provide our patients with a special mouth guard specifically for braces, unlike the one you buy at a sports store. You do not boil and bite the orthodontic mouth guard, it is ready for wear when we give it to you. A few important reasons to wear your mouth guard, first, it protects your teeth if someone should hit you or a ball hits you in the face. Additionally, if you are hit in the face, your mouth guard helps stabilize your teeth, protects your lips and cheeks, and prevents you from biting your tongue. Mouth guards may also help reduce the severity of a concussion. If you follow the instructions that your orthodontic team provides to you, you will find it easier to protect your teeth from severe injury.