Caring for your Braces

Gum Disease

Oral Hygiene

It is important to maintain regular brushing and flossing of your teeth when you have braces. This will ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy during orthodontic treatment, and minimize the chances of staining. One of our trained staff members will instruct you how to properly clean your braces and teeth. Additionally, on every visit to the office we will report to you how well you are doing on your brushing and flossing.Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. During orthodontic treatment, we highly encourage our patients to continue to visit their general dentist for regular examinations and cleanings. Watch the two videos below on the proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment.

Bad Habits

Eating with Braces

Although you are able to eat most of the same foods you enjoy, some foods may require extra caution to avoid loosening of the braces. For the first day or so, try to stick to soft foods as your teeth may be sensitive. After the first couple days you will be able to eat foods you are accustomed to. Be careful when eating tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables- these should be cut into smaller bite size pieces. You’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces. Loose braces may prolong overall treatment time, so help yourself by choosing your foods carefully.

Foods to be careful with include:

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
  • Hard foods: avoid nuts, hard candy
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots – cut these into small bite size pieces

Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces.

Tartar, Plaque and Cavity Treatment

Elastic Wear

To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. In order to correct bad bites or for certain tooth movements, sometimes elastics are required. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their correct positions if the patient consistently wears the elastics or other appliances as prescribed. Wearing elastics for half the time only will move the teeth forwards initially, but they move backwards almost immediately when not worn for the other half. In other words, you’re really spinning your tires and not progressing in your treatment. Call our office if you ever have questions regarding elastic wear or run out of elastics.

Detection of Oral Cancer

Sports and Athletes

If you play contact sports, it’s important you let us know. A protective mouthguard is recommended for playing contact sports. With braces on, we are not worried about teeth being knocked out. Our primary concerns are cuts to the lips/cheeks and in preventing concussions.