Hygiene & Diet Instructions

Keeping a Healthy Smile
Braces create small ledges, nooks, and crannies for food deposits, which can lead to cavities and gum problems. This makes brushing and flossing even more important while you are wearing braces. When you brush and floss, handle your appliances carefully so you won’t break or loosen them. Following these brushing and eating tips will keep your appliances and your smile healthy!

Be sure to brush your teeth right after every meal and before you go to bed. Dr. Koen may prescribe a fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities. Try to brush like this:
– Start by brushing the outside of each tooth.
– Then brush where your gums and teeth meet, using a circular motion.
– Brush the inside surface of each tooth.
– Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth last.

Because your toothbrush won’t reach between your teeth, brushing alone won’t keep your teeth clean and healthy. Flossing can help! A floss threader, available from us or a pharmacy, helps you floss with braces on. Floss once a day, like this:
1. Thread floss through the threader and slip it up behind your arch-wire.
2. Pull the floss between two teeth and up under your gum margins.
3. Rinse with clean water, and watch your teeth and braces sparkle.

Use a fluoridated toothpaste, the doctors may prescribe a fluoride toothpaste if necessary.

You should be brushing at least three times a day — once at breakfast, at lunch, and before you go to bed. If you are not able to brush after you eat, be sure to rinse thoroughly with water. NEVER skip brushing at night before you go to bed.

Eating Tips
While you are wearing braces, you can eat almost all of your favorite foods. Please stay away from these troublemakers:
– Sticky, chewy foods like taffy, caramels, or jerky and absolutely no gum (even sugar free).
– Hard foods like apples and carrots need to be cut into bite-size pieces.
– Crunchy foods like corn chips, popcorn, and corn nuts.
– Eating fewer sweets helps to fight cavities. Watch for the “hidden sugars” in fruit drinks, cereals, and soda.