Quality dental treatment is a team effort. While we do not provide traditional orthodontics at Markiewicz Dental, we do collaborate with a select group of excellent orthodontists. We participate in the treatment planning process and provide the extremely important ongoing dental hygiene care.

Eating with Braces

When your braces are first placed or after an orthodontic adjustment, your teeth will be sore when you chew. Stick to soft foods and consider meals such as soup, pasta, pancakes, eggs, macaroni and cheese, etc. After a few days, you'll be eating a pretty normal diet again.

There are foods, however, that can damage your braces. Hard, sticky, chewy, or crunchy foods can bend your archwires or cause brackets and bands to come loose from your teeth. This can cause unwanted tooth movement and lengthen your treatment.

Please avoid the following:

  • All gum (even sugarless)
  • Chewing on ice
  • Sticky, chewy candy (Starbursts, Fruit Rollups, Skittles, Now-N-Laters, Air Heads, Tootsie Rolls, Milk Duds, Gummy Bears, Gummy Worms, Fruit by the Foot, caramels, licorice, taffy, etc.)
  • Chewing on hard candy (Jolly Ranchers, jawbreakers, candy canes, lollypops, peanut brittle, toffee, etc.)
  • Hard rolls, French bread, and bagels
  • Deep-dish pizza crust
  • Granola bars
  • Large pretzels (hard or soft)
  • Bagel chips, pita chips, or other hard chip snacks
  • Popcorn that is not fully popped
  • Caramel apples
  • Raw carrots (slice them thin)
  • Corn on the cob (cut kernels off the cob)
  • Whole apples (slice them into thin wedges)
  • Biting into very hard ice cream

Also, please do not chew on pens, pencils, fingernails, or other hard objects.

Please use your common sense when deciding which foods you should eat and those to be avoided.

Caring for Your Braces at Home

Use of electric toothbrushes, water picks, floss threaders, proximal brushes, mouth rinses, and fluorides should be used to maintain oral health while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Regular dental exams and cleanings at our Mundelein dental office are necessary during orthodontic treatment.

Why is dental hygiene so important?

Brackets and wires work hard to guide teeth into alignment, but they do not actually take care of the teeth. In fact, brushing and flossing become even more important when wearing braces to prevent plaque build-up, staining, and decay. Proper dental hygiene practices help remove food particles and keep bacteria growth in check. Special brushes reach under the wires and allow patients to dislodge food particles before they have a chance to build-up and turn into plaque.

What can happen as a result of poor oral hygiene habits?

Poor oral hygiene cannot only lead to tooth decay, but also infection and gum disease. Braces allow small food particles to stay trapped against teeth. As bacteria digest sugars in the food, acids are left behind on teeth. When brackets are removed, those with questionable dental hygiene practices may have outlines of plaque and stains or possible areas of decay. Unfortunately, when additional treatment is needed to correct the consequences of poor oral hygiene, it can extend the regular adjustment schedule.

How can I ensure smooth white teeth on reveal day?

A soft toothbrush and dental floss are the minimum tools required. Plan to carry a mini dental hygiene kit so you can clean your teeth after snacks and meals. Interdental brushes work to remove food bits and larger debris from under wires and around brackets. Interproximal brushes are best for getting into the nooks and crannies created by fixed appliances. Floss threaders make it easier to floss properly while wearing braces.

Avoid sugary foods to help prevent decay. Popcorn, bubblegum, taffy, and hard foods can be enemies of both braces and teeth, so must be avoided. Choose fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods for snacks since they work by adding vitamins and minerals to keep teeth healthy from the inside out.

Be Proactive

Take advantage of the special brushes and flossers to prevent build-up near brackets. A regular toothbrush held at an angle is the first line of defense, but it is better to brush smarter, not harder. Children and adolescents often need guided practice to learn proper care techniques. Parents should remind their children to brush and floss in order to establish a consistent routine.

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