Young patients getting braces on their teeth for the first time need extensive education about what they can eat and not eat with their new appliances. They may have a limited understanding of what stresses the braces can withstand and how much care they require. The orthodontist will find it’s a good idea to give them written instructions on the do’s and don’t of what they can eat so patients can refer to the list periodically.
Don’ts of Eating With Braces
· Make sure patients understand that gum chewing is strictly forbidden for the duration of the time they are wearing braces.
· Ensure that patients clearly see how eating hard candy can damage their braces, leading to longer treatment and the risk of cavities.
· Emphasize avoiding sugary drinks that can increase the risk of cavities under your braces
· Ensure they know that not to eat corn right on the cob. Cut it off the cob first and then eat it.
· Crunchy foods like a pizza crust, bagels, or pretzels can dent or bend the braces. Advise patients to break the foods into small bits and chew them carefully
· Ensure they understand they must avoid eating hard, raw fruits and vegetables. Cut them up into small pieces and chew carefully or cook them before eating.
· If you eat meat that was cooked on the bone, pull it off the bone before eating.
· Make it very clear that chewing on ice can damage their braces and undo the work they have already accomplished on their teeth.
· Explain the damage that eating caramels or other sticky candy can do to their braces and teeth.
This may sound like a great deal of negative information for young patients. It’s a good idea to balance it with an equal amount of positive reinforcement. Remind them how good their teeth will look when then the process of straightening is finished. Encourage them about persevering with their efforts to achieve the desired result. Reinforce positive actions they can take to care for their braces and help the straightening process toward its successful completion.
Do’s of Eating With Braces
· The orthodontist should emphasize how important it is to brush teeth and braces carefully after eating sugary drinks or foods.
· Explain how careful cleaning can prevent food and drinks from staining teeth.
· Educate the patient on the correct way to floss when wearing braces.
· Provide proxy brushes, which are especially good at cleaning between braces. Teach them how to insert down from the top and up from the bottom to remove food particles. Encourage them to repeat this action on every tooth until all are properly cleaned.
· Explain the benefits of cooking hard foods before eating them or explain about grating the fruits and vegetables into fine bites that will be easy to chew.
· Educate the patients about chewing with their back teeth to avoid damaging the braces.
· Let patients know that if they cannot immediately brush their teeth after eating foods, they can rinse their teeth and brace with water to remove particles.