1. Foods

If we continue to eat normally with braces and plates, the individual braces will be knocked off the teeth, the wires will bend or break and any plates will break.  Appliance breakages add significantly to the treatment even if they are repaired immediately so prevention is the key to this adverse effect on treatment time.

The best way to manage eating with orthodontic appliances is to cut all foods into a quarter of the usual size that you would usually put into your mouth.  The next step is to massage the food with your teeth from side to side rather than chewing up and down.

Foods to avoid are any foods that can’t be modified and eaten in this way, or can’t be dissolved by sucking (without chewing).

 

2. Brushing

Brushing is the main part of keeping your braces and other appliances clean and protecting your teeth from plaque.  Daily flossing and use of mouthrinses are important additional ways of keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

During orthodontic treatment, teeth and appliances should be brushed at least three times daily.  The ideal toothbrush is a small to medium headed brush with soft to medium bristles.  Always use a fluoride toothpaste.  An interdental brush (looks like a tiny bottlebrush) can be very useful for cleaning under the brackets, fixed plates and archwires (as well as between the teeth).

Without careful brushing and flossing there is a risk of preventable chalky damage (decalcification) around the braces, between the teeth and on the gumline, as well as a risk of preventable gum disease.  Simply keeping the teeth, gums and braces clean consistently during treatment, will go a long way to getting rid of one of the biggest risks in orthodontic treatment.