caring for your braces
Copyright © 2013
Jason M. Pambrun, DDS, MS
All Rights Reserved.
Although patients are able to eat or drink many foods while in orthodontic
treatment, there are certain eating habits that are known to cause
breakage of orthodontic appliances and braces as well as increasing the
risk of dental problems. Our aim is to allow our patients to achieve the
treatment goals with as few disturbances due to appliance breakage as
possible, and to minimize the side effects of poor food choices and poor
oral hygiene. Remember, teeth move their best in a healthy environment
and in individuals with excellent overall dental heath. Patient cooperation
is key to successful orthodontics.
What foods should I avoid?
Food and drink your dentist has suggested may cause dental decay
should be restricted while wearing braces. Sticky foods are to be avoided
because of the increased risk of dental decay and appliance breakage.
These foods stick to your braces and remain on your teeth for long
periods of time. If foods or drinks high in sugar content are to be
consumed, we advise having them with regular meals or at one given time
of day. Please make sure that careful brushing and rinsing take place
immediately afterwards. Snacks should be confined to foods without
refined sugar and should be followed by brushing or vigorous rinsing if a
toothbrush is unavailable.
Wearing braces limits the foods that you are permitted to eat. Improper
foods can bend and distort wires causing treatment delays and extra
visits for repairs. In general hard, brittle, crunchy and sticky foods should
NOT be eaten during orthodontic treatment. Hard crunchy foods can bend
and break the braces and wires, while sticky foods may loosen them.
Certain foods may be eaten if they are prepared in a special way. Whole
fruits and vegetables or any raw foods such as apples, celery and carrots
should be sliced and eaten carefully. Hard crusty breads should be
broken and eaten in small pieces. Corn may be eaten if sliced off the cob.
Do not suck on lemons or limes (citric acid in juice can dissolve tooth
enamel) and especially do not suck or chew ice cubes. Chewing ice
cubes can be very destructive to your appliances and teeth. Keep
fingernails, pencils and other objects out of your mouth. Do not put
anything in your mouth that may tend to end, break, pry, pull or knock off
the braces. Popcorn can cause harm in multiple ways. The husks from the
popcorn can become lodged beneath the braces and cause irritation of
the gum tissue. Unpopped kernels can shear or break off brackets as well
as bend or dislodge wires.
The following is a list of only some of the foods you should avoid as you
should use your own good judgment while eating anything. No matter
what you eat, please clean the teeth and gum tissue thoroughly after
eating any food and especially before bedtime.
Here are some tips on the types of foods to avoid:
Nuts, peanut brittle Ice
Taffy and Caramels
Milk Duds etc.
Be careful with these foods:
Carrots - grate or cut into tiny pieces
Apples - cut into wedges - don't bite
Hard French bread - tear into small pieces
Limit foods with a high sugar content:
The acids produced by high sugar content foods can attack for twenty
minutes or more each time you eat. So, the best time to eat carbohydrates
or other sugary foods is during a meal. The mouth produces more saliva
during a meal which, in turn, helps to neutralize acid production and rinse
food from the mouth. If possible, brush immediately after eating. If it is not
possible to do so, rinsing with clear water will help.
Other Orthodontic "No-Nos":
Pushing your tongue against your teeth
Chewing on pencils or pens
Tearing things with your teeth
Biting your fingernails
Dental Hygiene during Treatment
As you eat, your teeth, braces and appliances collect food. If food is left
on teeth overnight, a thick plaque forms on the teeth and gums. Plaque
causes bad-breath, tooth decay and gum disease (swollen, puffy, red,
overgrown, or bleeding gums). Drinks and foods containing sugar can
damage the tooth surfaces and gum tissue. Bleeding and swollen gums
are a sure sign that plaque is not being properly removed. If your gums
are swollen and inflamed your teeth will not move as easily, you will
experience more discomfort during your treatment and white spots or
decay will form on the teeth under and around the braces and appliances.
It is discouraging to work hard to straighten teeth, only to finish and find
decay or white spots on the teeth.
The following is essential for the proper care of your teeth and gums:
We highly recommend the use of a Waterpik to loosen food and plaque
before flossing and brushing. The Waterpik should be used on the lower
water pressure settings so the gum tissue is not excessively irritated. The
use of a Waterpik does not take the place of good toothbrushing.
Although somewhat time-consuming, dental floss should be used when
wearing braces or appliances. Floss at least once per day just before
bedtime and use a floss threader if necessary.
Soft Bristled Toothbrush-
Use your toothbrush after each meal and before bedtime. A travel brush
carried in a purse or placed in a locker is great for brushing after lunch.
Examine your teeth for food and plaque and thoroughly clean all surfaces
of the gums, teeth and braces. Re-examine your teeth to make sure all
visible food and plaque have been removed. Repeat this step as often as
needed to assure that no visible plaque or food remains. Extra care must
be taken in the area between your gums and the braces. Concentrate on
brushing your gums and the gumline as well as your teeth.
Although it is not absolutely necessary for good hygiene, an electric
toothbrush may make brushing easier.
Every new patient is given a tube of MI Paste, a specially formulated paste
to be used after night time brushing and to be left on the teeth while
sleeping. Research has shown that use of this paste strengthens the
enamel and can actually reduce the incidence and appearance of white
spots. Each tube should last a couple of months. If you need more, it is
available on line or from our office.
A Few Tricks-
Since most patients watch some TV, we have found it to be effective to sit
down in front of the TV daily with a toothbrush without toothpaste, and
massage the teeth and gums with the toothbrush bristles for about 30
minutes. Thirty minutes gives you plenty of time to do a good job, and
makes TV time more productive. Brushing while listening to music or
studying is also acceptable. You may want to use toothpaste to freshen
your breath, but don't use toothpaste during this 30 minutes. We want you
to avoid the "once over lightly" technique. To concentrate better, you may
use your left hand if you are right handed, and vice versa. The most
important time to brush is just before going to bed. Take your time and do
Regular Dental Checkups-
Although you are having your braces checked regularly, it is very
important to continue to see your family dentist at least every six months
for a thorough examination and cleaning of your teeth. If you experience
difficulty with good oral hygiene you my need to see your dentist more
5903 East Mall
Atascadero, Ca. 93422
Pambrun Bracing/Classic Smiles by Dr. Jason M. Pambrun is a premiere Atascadero, California orthodontic office (orthodontist / dentist),
providing braces, clear braces, gold braces, and Invisalign® (invisible braces) in Atascadero, CA
Website created by Dr. Jason M. Pambrun (Atascadero orthodontist, North County orthodontist) forPambrun Bracing/Classic Smiles by Dr. Jason
M. Pambrun, providing braces, clear braces, gold braces, Invisalign (invisible braces) to Atascadero, Cambria, Cayucos, Creston, Morro Bay,
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