Now that you’ve got braces, it is important to take good care of your teeth. There are certain foods that you’ll need to avoid and you’ll need to take extra care cleaning your teeth. While this may sound like a sacrifice, remember that in a very short time the braces will come off and you’ll have straight, beautiful teeth.
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Brushing your teeth with braces
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, between braces and the surface of each tooth.
It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
It is important during orthodontic treatment to brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After supper
- At bedtime
You will need to replace your toothbrush more often due. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day.
Use the reusable floss threader provided by our office to floss under your archwire daily. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. You will be able to feel when the tooth is clean and hear the squeak of the floss against your clean teeth.
Use care around your archwire and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it. After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between your other teeth and gums.
If you are flossing without the floss threader, pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment.
Hard foods and sticky foods must be avoided as they can break or damage wires and brackets. Also avoid eating sugary foods because they cause tooth decay. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided as well
Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid:
- Gum (sugar-free or regular)
- Sugar Daddies
- Tootsie Rolls
Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:
- Hard taco shells
- French bread crust/rolls
- Corn on the cob
- Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
- Jolly Ranchers
- Pizza crust
Minimize Sugary Foods like:
- Ice Cream
Only Once a Day:
- Sweetened tea
- Drinks with sugar
Most patients need to wear rubber bands near the end of their treatment to bring their upper and lower teeth together.
Why do I need to wear rubber bands?
Your braces and your archwires will make your teeth straight, but your rubber bands will make your upper and lower teeth fit together. When your teeth are straight and they fit together, your braces can be removed.
How often do I need to wear my rubber bands?
Wear your rubber bands 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Make sure to change them after you eat. Rubber bands need to be worn all the time to work effectively. When you remove the rubber bands, your bone cells stop working to make your teeth fit together. Missed wearing time makes your treatment take longer! Remove them only for brushing and replace them right away.
- Always carry some rubber bands with you, so if one breaks, you can replace it right away.
- If you forget to wear your rubber bands one day, don’t double up the next day – just follow your regular instructions.
- Rubber bands wear out. If they lose their elasticity, they do not provide effective pressure to your teeth and jaws. It is important to change them after every meal, even when they are not broken.
- If your rubber bands break frequently or the hook for your rubber bands breaks off, call the office immediately.
- If you are sore from the rubber bands, don’t give up. The soreness will go away, just like the soreness from new wires goes away. Removing them will cause you to be sore for a longer time and can be damaging to your teeth.