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Hygiene & Diet
Keeping a Healthy Smile
Braces create small ledges, nooks and crannies for food deposits, which can lead to cavities and gum problems. This makes brushing and flossing even more important while you are wearing braces. When you brush and floss, handle your appliances carefully so you won’t break or loosen them. Following these brushing and eating tips will keep your appliances and your smile healthy.
While you are wearing braces, you can eat almost all of your favorite foods. Please stay away from these "troublemakers"
- Sticky foods like bubble gum, taffy and caramels
- Hard foods like hard candies, apples and carrots (cut them into pieces)
- Crunchy foods like corn chips, popcorn and nuts
- Eating fewer sweets helps fight cavities
Be sure to brush your teeth right after every meal and before you go to bed. It's best to use fluoride toothpaste to fight cavities. Your orthodontist may prescribe a fluoride mouth rinse to help prevent cavities. Try to brush like this:
- Start by brushing the outside of each tooth at least 10 times.
- Then brush where your gums and teeth meet, using circular motion.
- Brush the inside surface of each tooth at least 10 times, too.
- Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth last.
Because your toothbrush won't reach between your teeth, brushing alone won't help keep your teeth clean and healthy. Flossing can help. A floss threader, available from us or a pharmacy, helps you floss with braces on. Floss once a day like this:
- Thread floss through the threader and slip it up behind your archwire.
- Pull the floss between two teeth and up under your gum margins
- Rinse with lots of clean water and watch your teeth and braces sparkle.
- Use fluoridated toothpaste.
- Your orthodontist may prescribe fluoride rinse if necessary.
You should be brushing at least three times a day—once at breakfast, at lunch and before you go to bed. If you are not able to brush after you eat, be sure to rinse thoroughly with water, and NEVER skip brushing at night before you go to bed.