Looking after Braces
Eating Habits and Orthodontics
A careful patient can eat most types of food and not damage appliances. However, there are three types of food that will cause trouble – hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar content. Hard foods, ice and sweets, caramels and other sticky items will damage the appliance by loosening brackets and bands and bending wires out of shape. Polos and similar mints must be avoided. Dietary sugar should be kept to an absolute minimum to avoid decay. If sugary foods are eaten, the teeth need to be brushed within a few minutes.
Cleaning Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment
Those parts of the teeth which are covered by brackets are actually protected from decay, however, the brackets and wires do make it harder to keep clean next to the gum. If teeth are not kept well brushed in this area, the gums will swell, making it more difficult to clean. If this situation continues, the possibility of tooth decay (which commences as white marks on the teeth) and gum disease will be greatly increased. Special instructions will be given, so that tooth brushing will be as effective as possible. Essentially, it is necessary to brush after each meal and before bedtime.
Fluoride mouth rinses will need to be used regularly twice weekly whilst appliances are in place, to help maintain the strength of the enamel. These are easily obtained from your local chemist without prescription.
Small elastics are often needed, at various stages of treatment to give gentle continuous forces to promote tooth movement. Teeth almost never fail to move when elastics are worn consistently. In some cases, additional equipment may be required at night, for part of the treatment, to provide the extra energy needed to move the teeth.