Orthodontic Brushing and Flossing

Oral Hygiene

You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food compacts in the brackets and between your teeth, and can only be removed by brushing and flossing. If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it will leave a permanent white scar on the surface. Brushing after meals should become part of your daily schedule. Use a soft toothbrush with firm pressure and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth; brush in small circles above and below the brackets. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray. A Waterpik can be a useful addition but it cannot remove the sticky plaque that adheres to the teeth. Interplak toothbrushes are great. Flossing is important and should be done every day. The floss threaders are reusable.

Eating Habits

Please do not eat hard foods: nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spareribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating), and popcorn! These foods risk breaking brackets and wires. Also beware of nail biting and pen or pencil chewing habits, since these can damage your braces. Do not eat sticky foods: taffy, caramels, bubble gum, or sticky candy of any sort. Use common sense about most foods.

Sticky Foods to Avoid:

  • Gum
  • Caramels
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Starbursts
  • Caramel Apples
  • Sugar Babies
  • Licorice
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Now & Laters

Eat Much Less:

  • Candy
  • Ice Cream
  • Cake, Cookies
  • Pie
  • Foods with Sugar

Hard Foods to Avoid:

  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Bagels
  • Apples
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Pizza Crusts
  • Carrots (uncooked)
  • Doritos
  • Pretzels

Minimize Sugar Intake, Drink Much Less:

  • Pop
  • Drinks with Sugar