Home Care

Brushing & flossing

You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food compacts in the brackets and between your teeth, and can only be removed by brushing and flossing. If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it will leave a permanent white scar on the surface.

Brushing after meals should become part of your daily schedule.

Use a soft toothbrush with firm pressure and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth and gum; brush in small circles above and below the brackets.

Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray. A Waterpik is a recommended addition, as it helps remove food particles prior to traditional brushing. Flossing is important and should be done every day.
  • Brush after every meal.
  • Use a toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste.
  • Use circular, vibrating motions around the gumline for about 10 seconds on each tooth.

Retainer Care

Initially, you may find it difficult to speak while wearing your retainer. If you practice speaking/reading out loud your speech should return to normal within 2-3 days.

When/if you take out your retainer, be sure to put it in the case provided.

Clean your retainer 1x daily in cool/warm water with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Brushing your retainers removes plaque and keeps the retainers clean. An orthodontic appliance cleaner (Retainer BriteTM) or denture cleaner can be used but is not a substitute for brushing.

Keep your retainer away from your pets as they love to chew on them.

Please handle your retainer with care. Avoid flipping the retainer in and out with your tongue. This can increase the chance of breakage. If you lose or break your retainer, please call our office immediately.

Keep your retainers away from hot water, heat source (like a radiator), hot car dashboard, pockets, dishwashers and washing machines. NEVER boil your retainer. Do NOT put your retainers in a napkin or tissue, as , as they are likely to be tossed in the trash.

Never try to adjust your retainer by yourself. If you have a concern, please call our office.
  • Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
  • Remember to remove your retainers for swimming and contact sports.

Eating Habits

Please do not eat hard foods: nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spareribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating), and popcorn! These foods risk breaking brackets and wires.

Use common sense about most foods.

Also beware of nail biting and pen or pencil chewing habits, since these can damage your braces. Do not eat sticky foods: taffy, caramels, bubble gum, or sticky candy of any sort.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Foods You Can Eat

  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake