To achieve the best orthodontic results in the least amount of time, cooperation is key. Cooperation with brushing and being careful with what you eat can have a tremendous effect on your treatment outcome. If you consistently brush well and do not loosen brackets and wires, your treatment results will be better and your treatment will be finished on time or earlier.
Eating with Braces
While you have braces, you’ll need to eat softer foods. We recommend mashed potatoes, soft breads, fish, soups, oatmeal, ice cream, Jell-O, etc. at the very beginning of your treatment. Once you get used to the braces, you can try harder foods such as pasta, burgers, chicken, or burritos.
Try to avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods such as nuts, chips, chewing gum, pizza crust, hard pretzels, granola bars, and popcorn. These types of food should be avoided because they will cause brackets, bands, and wires to break, bend, and loosen. This will lead to painful poking wires and extra visits to our Vancouver orthodontic office. A loose or broken bracket can increase treatment time by an entire month!
Taking Care of Your Braces at Home
Your at-home care should include extensive brushing after every meal. We also recommend using a proxy brush to get in between the brackets and wires—a tool you’ll receive as part of your oral hygiene kit.
Caring for your retainers is also important. Brush them with cold water and toothpaste when you brush your teeth. If you notice a white buildup on your retainers that brushing can't eliminate, soak them in a glass with half water and half vinegar.
Brushing and Flossing with Braces
The time it takes to properly brush and floss your teeth is time well spent! Brushing for two minutes may be fine when you don’t have braces, but with them, your brushing time will need to increase to at least three to four minutes. Inspect your teeth after brushing to check for food debris left behind and, if needed, brush again.
Brush your teeth after every meal, including snacks. Brushing once or twice a day is definitely not enough. The minimum is three times a day: after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you have a snack, you need to brush after, no matter how small the snack is.
Flossing with braces is also a requirement. It is more challenging but can be done with a bit of practice. A floss threader is used with floss to get the floss underneath the wire. We will review how to floss with you when you get your braces on.
Dealing with Discomfort
A small amount of discomfort, especially in the first few days of your treatment, is common. If a loose bracket is bothering you, use the wax provided in your oral hygiene kit to prevent it from moving around on the wire. If the source of discomfort is a poking wire, you can use wax to temporarily reduce the discomfort. In both cases, you’ll need to contact our Vancouver orthodontic office to arrange a visit for Dr. Ma to repair the bracket or wire.