Caring for Your Braces & Orthodontic Appliances
Although some patients are able to eat or drink almost anything while in braces and have no ill effects, most will get either damaged braces, damaged teeth or both.
There are certain dietary habits that are known to cause breakage of orthodontic appliances as well as increasing the risk of dental disease. Our aim is to achieve treatment goals with as few disturbances due to appliance breakage as possible and minimise the side effects of poor diet choices. Remember, teeth move best in a healthy environment and in individuals with excellent overall health.
Potential harm to your teeth and gums
Foods and drinks which your dentist has suggested may cause dental caries should be restricted while wearing braces. Sticky foods are to be avoided because of the increased risk of dental decay and appliance breakage. These foods stick to your braces and remain on your teeth for long periods of time.
If foods or drinks high in sugar content are to be consumed, we advise having them with regular meals or at one given time of day. Please make sure that careful brushing and rinsing take place immediately afterwards. Between meal snacks should be savoury rather than sweet and should be followed by vigorous rinsing if a toothbrush is not available.
The following are examples of foods which can be particularly harmful to your teeth while wearing braces:
- Sticky foods: bubble/chewing gum, toffees, caramels, Minties, muesli bars, Roll-ups, Fantales, Redskins.
- Fizzy drinks, cordial, fruit juices, Milo, Quik.
- Sugar on cereal or icing on rolls or cakes.
Potential harm to your braces
Braces have been attached to your teeth with an adhesive which normally will withstand the forces of eating. However, braces can be dislodged and wires bent or broken while eating certain foods. Hard foods, such as nuts, lollies, corn chips and even bagels can harm your braces and should be avoided. Meat should always be taken off the bone and fruit off the stone before eating.
Chewing ice cubes can also be very destructive to your appliances. Some foods such as whole apples, raw carrots or celery are healthy snacks, but must be cut up and chewed on your back teeth avoid damaging your braces.
Sticky foods (as noted previously) can bend and distort wires causing treatment delays and extra visits for repairs.
Remember, if you have any questions about dietary restrictions or good food choices, PLEASE ASK!
Cleaning teeth and braces
Braces are very effective "plaque traps". Cleaning your teeth and braces thoroughly is very important. If plaque is left to accumulate around your braces and gums then poisons released from the plaque will make your gums swell up.
This swelling will slow down your treatment and make it more uncomfortable. Also, leaving plaque around your teeth puts you at much greater risk of tooth decay. This shows up as ugly white scars which are obvious around where your braces were when they are removed.
Thorough cleaning is not difficult but it is time-consuming. It needs to be done carefully twice daily, usually in the morning and evening when there is more time available. After breakfast, brush your teeth and after lunch you can also brush your teeth or at least rinse to remove any food debris.
However, in the evenings you will need to:
- Spiral brush
- Mouth rinse
Each of these will be explained to you in more detail when your orthodontic appliance is fitted.