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.
Be sure to brush your teeth right after every meal and before you go to bed. It’s best
to use a fluoride toothpaste to help fight cavities. Dr. Santucci may prescribe a special
flouride paste that you will brush with at night 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 a circular motion.
• Brush the inside surface of each tooth at least 10 times.
• Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth last.
Because your toothbrush won’t reach between your teeth, brushing alone won’t 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:
1 . Thread floss through the threader and slip it up behind your archwire.
2 . Pull the floss between two teeth and up under your gum margins.
3 . Rinse with lots of clean water, and watch your teeth and braces sparkle.
When you’re careful, you can probably eat almost any food and do no damage to your
appliances. However, the following three types of food may cause trouble, as will
many other foods. Use common sense. If you’re in doubt, ask us about those foods
you particularly enjoy.
Absolutely No Way
HARD FOOD may do damage by bending wires, loosening cement under the bands
or breaking the little brackets and tubes which are attached.
STICKY FOODS damage appliances by bending wires and pulling cement loose.
Foods high in sugar content should be avoided whenever possible. If you do eat
them, brush your teeth immediately. If it’s not convenient to brush, then always rinse
your mouth with clear water after eating very sweet foods like cake or candy.
Do Not Eat
Popcorn, Nuts, Peanut Brittle, Ice (not even if you’re careful). Lemons (lemon juice
can hurt tooth enamel). Corn on the cob, (OK to cut off the cob). Corn chips, Crisp
Tacos, Taffy, caramel, fruit flakes, Bubble Gum – A THOUSAND TIMES “NO”,
Pizza crust (the hard outer edge).
Maybe, But Be Careful
Carrot sticks (OK if cut into thin curls). Apples (Cut into wedges, don’t bite into
them). Hard French bread (OK to take small pieces). Soda Pop, diet drink, carbonated
drinks (make sure you rinse with water afterward!). Sugarless Gum (one stick at a
time is OK).