A careful orthodontic patient can probably eat almost any food without doing damage to his/her appliances. However, these three types of food can cause trouble by bending wires, breaking braces and loosening the cement that attaches the appliances to your teeth.
Avoid hard foods similar to the following:
Hard bread, ice, popcorn, Jawbreakers, Jolly Ranchers, hard pretzels, croutons, whole nuts and hard taco shells.
Take special care when eating these foods:
Apples, peaches, plums
If possible, cut into wedges and chew on back teeth.
Bagels, hard breads, pizza crust
Break into bite-size pieces.
Carrots, celery, raw veggies
Cut into small pieces that are thinner and chew on back teeth.
Avoid sticky foods similar to the following:
Caramels, Sugar Daddies, Starburst and taffy
Excessive breakage or damage to your appliances will add excessive treatment time and damage to the enamel surface of your teeth.
FOODS HIGH IN SUGAR
Limit the amount of sugary foods you eat. Sugar can increase the plaque that forms on your teeth, causing cavities and permanent white marks. Many foods, like breakfast cereals, have hidden sugars. If you do choose to eat sugary foods, please brush immediately after.
Avoid between-meal snacking. The worst thing you can do is drink soda or eat crackers and chips between meals without brushing.
A FEW OTHER THINGS
Soft Drinks and Lemons
Soft drinks and lemons contain a substance that can cause permanent damage to the enamel on your teeth. If you decide to drink soft drinks or eat lemons, we recommend that you brush thoroughly to decrease the possibility of damage. If you are unable to brush, please rinse you mouth with water.
Do not bite or chew on pens, pencils or Popsicle sticks. These objects may break brackets, bend wires and loosen cement.
If you play sports, always remember to wear a mouthguard. Be sure to talk to us about your individual needs. ShockDoctor makes mouthguards for braces.
Other Orthodontic "No-No's":
Pushing your tongue against your teeth
Chewing on pencils or pens
Tearing things with your teeth
Biting your fingernails
FIRST DAYS IN BRACES
THE FIRST FEW DAYS
As your mouth adjusts to the appliances that we have placed, it is normal to feel soreness during the first few days. Try to eat soft foods and you may wish to take a mild, non-prescription pain reliever (aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofen) until the tenderness subsides. For maximum effectiveness, it may be best to take such medications before the discomfort begins. Tenderness will vary from patient to patient; however, most soreness should be gone within a few days.
Smaller, Softer and Slower:
This will make chewing easier for you and less uncomfortable if your teeth are sore. Cutting your food into small pieces will minimize the amount of chewing. Softer foods will make it much easier to chew. By eating slower, you will decrease the likelihood of biting your tongue and cheek.
Although the brackets have been rounded and smoothed, you may find it helpful to use a small piece of wax around the bracket. We will give you a supply of wax at the start of treatment. Should you run out and need more in between appointments, you may pick some up from our office or find it in most food stores or pharmacies.
BRUSHING AND FLOSSING
The parts of your teeth that are covered by orthodontic bands or brackets are protected from decay, as long as the bands are not loose. The area that tends to cause the most problems is the "shelf" where brackets, tubes and wires stick out away from the teeth. This "shelf" makes it harder to clean the spaces between your gums and the orthodontic appliances. If you don't get these areas clean, the gums swell, get puffy and become even harder to clean. Continued neglect of these areas may result in tooth decay, permanent staining or decalcification of your teeth, and gum disease.
Regular Dental Checkups
Although you are having your braces checked regularly, it is very important to continue to see your family dentist at least every six months for a thorough examination and cleaning of your teeth. If you experience difficulty with good oral hygiene you my need to see your dentist more frequently.
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