Oral Hygiene & Diet

Oral Hygiene

Proper oral hygiene is the best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile, and is vital during orthodontic treatment.

Because it is harder to brush and floss with braces, we recommend that patients see their dentist every three months for a proper cleaning and hygiene check while you are undergoing treatment.

Brushing and flossing regularly will help prevent plaque buildup on your brackets and bands. This plaque buildup can lead to gum disease or gingivitis and can damage your tooth enamel. You can help prevent this from happening by following the suggestions below:

  • Brush your teeth for at least two minutes after every meal. (Be sure the bristles of the brush are angled in all directions around the brackets especially between the gum-line and the top of the bracket. You do not have to brush hard.)
  • Before going to bed brush and floss. We recommend flossing once a day.
  • Rinse or brush with fluoride supplement before bed (we will prescribed for you).


For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard, sticky, chewy, and brittle foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard and brittle foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Broken brackets lead to delays in your treatment progress. Sticky and chewy foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems.

Nail/cuticle biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.

Foods to Avoid (THE NO-NO LIST):

  • Bubble Gum (sugar-free gum is okay)
  • Sticky candy (Licorice, Sugar Daddies, Toffee, Tootsie Rolls, Caramels, Starburst, Now and later, Skittles, gummy bears, taffy)
  • Biting hard candy (Lifesavers, Jolly Ranchers, mints)
  • Ice (crunching) 
  • Nuts
  • Hard popcorn kernels 

Eat the Following Foods with Care:

  • Corn on the cob (slice it off the cob before eating) 

  • Apples and carrots (cut into small pieces and eat carefully)
  • Ribs (cut meat off the bone)
  • Hard breads and crusts including pizza crust and bagels (break into bite size pieces)

Minimize Sugary Foods Like:

  • Soda
  • Cake, cookies, pies
  • Ice Cream
  • Raisins
  • Any drinks with excess sugar 

Brush your teeth immediately after eating foods with sugar to avoid developing cavities around the brackets.  If you cannot brush, at least rinse vigorously with clear water.

It’s important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately to arrange an appointment for repair.