Life With Braces

Caring For Braces

Drs. Shawn and Candice are experts in creating beautiful smiles but keeping your teeth clean is also a very important part of the process. On the day the braces are placed, our staff will give you all the tools you need to ensure a healthy smile during and after treatment.

Brushing Your Teeth
You know it’s important to brush your teeth but how should you do it while wearing braces?

  • Either a soft-bristle or a bi-level brush (one that has shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges) can be effective.

  • An electric toothbrush can work just as well. Be sure the electric brush is set to a moderate power level, and don’t let its vibrations cause the back of the brush to hit brackets or braces.

  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste.

  • Brush at least two times per day (preferably after meals), for at least two minutes each time.

  • Brush all of the tooth surfaces: the outside, the inside, and the chewing surfaces as well. Be especially careful to clean the areas between the wires and teeth, and between brackets and gums – that’s where food particles can easily become trapped.

  • Brush your gums gently and thoroughly.

  • Rinse thoroughly after brushing.

  • Inspect all the surfaces of your teeth. They should be spotless! Now is a good time to also check for any loose or broken brackets. Contact AFAB if you notice any problems.

Flossing Your Teeth

Our staff will help you learn proper flossing techniques to be used throughout your orthodontic treatment. To keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, you need to floss at least once per day. Here are the basics for flossing with braces:

  • Floss every night before bed.
  • Use a floss threader to thread the floss under the wire.
  • Make sure you run the floss along the gum line.
  • If the gums bleed when you floss, this usually indicates you are not flossing often enough.

​​Other Brushing Tools

In addition to a toothbrush and toothpaste, there are other tools that we recommend to maintain excellent oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment.

  • Interdental toothbrush or proxabrush. It has a small tuft of bristles that stick up all around, like a pipe cleaner. Use it gently and carefully to clean the tiny spaces under wires and around bands and brackets.

  • WaterPik. This device shoots a small stream of pressurized water at your teeth, which can help dislodge bits of food that become trapped in nooks and crannies. While it’s easy to use, an oral irrigator isn’t a substitute for a toothbrush or dental floss – but when used along with proper brushing and flossing techniques, it can be very effective.

  • Prescription Fluoride Toothpaste or Fluoride Rinse. Drs. Shawn and Candice may recommend this for you or your child. This is prescribed as needed on a case by case basis.

Eating With Braces

Eating with braces is something that you will have to adjust to. When you get your braces on, our staff will explain in detail how to eat and what types of food to avoid.  Brackets are not made to withstand the stress of biting into anything. If foods are bitten into, brackets are pulled away from the teeth, causing breakage. If brackets are consistently broken, your braces will need to be worn longer than the estimated treatment time.

Below is a list of foods that we would normally bite into. These now need to be broken apart or cut into smaller pieces and chewed with your back teeth:

  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Ribs
  • Pork Chops
  • Hot Dogs
  • Potato Chips
  • Fruit
  • Tacos
  • Hamburgers
  • Pretzels
  • Chicken
  • Cookies

Foods to Avoid Completely
Anything hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy

  • Caramels
  • Nuts
  • Cheetos
  • Butterfinger
  • Taffies
  • Popcorn
  • Now & Laters
  • Any Hard Candy
  • Hard Corn Chips
  • Snickers Bar
  • Jolly Ranchers

​​*No Ice Chewing!!! (This not only causes breakage, it wears the enamel on your teeth away and can cause TMJ discomfort).

*No chewing on pencils, pens or your fingernails.*

Fresh vegetables should be cut into very small pieces or steamed.

Sugar-free gum may be chewed throughout treatment.