Teeth with braces will require some extra care and attention. Your orthodontist will provide all the information you need to ensure your braces are kept clean, intact, comfortable and functioning.
Here are some things to consider when caring for teeth with braces.
It’s especially important to pay attention to cleaning teeth with braces because food can easily become trapped within the braces. If plaque develops and is left too long, it can lead to stains on the teeth and gum disease. Brushing the braces, the gumline, as well as the front, back and chewing surfaces of all teeth, can help ensure plaque is removed efficiently.
The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends flossing once a day. Floss threaders are usually used to clean between teeth with braces. These thin, looped plastic lines make getting the dental floss underneath the arch wires easier. Another all-in-one type of floss for braces has a built-in floss threader at one end and floss at the other. Once the floss has been threaded underneath the wires, plaque can be removed by running the floss between the teeth and under the gumline. Your orthodontist can demonstrate the proper flossing technique to use at home.
What not to eat
Since braces can be damaged while eating, it’s important to closely follow the orthodontist’s list of foods to avoid during treatment. Basically, foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy should be avoided.
Examples of some foods to avoid are popcorn, gum, ice, small seeds and grains and any type of crunchy or hard cookie or cracker. It’s a good idea to stay away from most types of candy while wearing braces. Not only can hard, sticky or chewy candies damage braces, high levels of sugar intake can contribute to tooth decay.
What to eat
Soft foods, such as cooked vegetables, soft fruits, yogurt and boneless meat, offer some of the best choices to avoid damaging braces. It’s best to avoid using front teeth when biting into any type of hard food while wearing braces. Hard foods that can be eaten with caution (for example, if they are cut into small pieces) include raw vegetables, some fruits, pizza with thin or crunchy crusts, hard buns and bagels and certain types of tougher or stringy meat.