Caring for Braces

Our goal is to get your braces off as soon as possible! Together we can make that happen. Your braces will take a little extra care, brushing will take a little longer and your diet will need some little changes. But, with excellent cooperation we can complete your treatment on time and give you an awesome smile.

What foods should I avoid?
Any food and drink that your dentist has suggested may cause dental decay should be restricted while wearing braces. Sticky foods are to be avoided because of the increased risk of dental decay and appliance breakage. These foods stick to your braces and remain on your teeth for long periods of time. If foods or drinks high in sugar content are to be consumed, we advise having them with regular meals or at one given time of day. Please make sure that careful brushing and rinsing take place immediately afterwards. Snacks should be confined to foods without refined sugar and should be followed by brushing or vigorous rinsing if a toothbrush is unavailable.

Wearing braces limits the foods that you are permitted to eat. Certain foods can bend and distort wires causing treatment delays and extra visits for repairs. In general hard, brittle, crunchy and sticky foods should NOT be eaten during orthodontic treatment. Hard crunchy foods can bend and possibly break the braces and wires, while sticky foods may loosen them. Certain foods may be eaten if they are prepared in a special way. Whole fruits and vegetables or any raw foods such as apples, celery and carrots should be sliced and eaten carefully. Hard crusty breads should be broken and eaten in small pieces. Corn may be eaten if sliced off the cob.

Do not suck on lemons or limes (citric acid in juice can dissolve tooth enamel) and especially do not suck or chew ice cubes. Chewing ice cubes can be very destructive to your appliances and teeth. Keep fingernails, pencils and other objects out of your mouth. Do not put anything in your mouth that may tend to bend, break, pry, pull or knock off the braces. Popcorn can cause harm in multiple ways. The husks from the popcorn can become lodged beneath the braces and cause irritation of the gum tissue. Unpopped kernels can shear or break off brackets as well as bend or dislodge wires.

The following is a list of only some of the foods you should avoid as you should use your own good judgment while eating anything. No matter what you eat, please clean your teeth and gum tissue thoroughly after eating any food and especially before bedtime.

Here are some tips on the types of foods to avoid:

Hard Foods:
Nuts, peanut brittle
Hard candy
Hard chips
Candied apples

Sticky Foods:
Gum - no way
Fruit Roll-ups
Gummy bears
Taffy and Caramels
Milk Duds etc.

Be careful with these foods:
Carrots - grate or cut into tiny pieces
Apples - cut into wedges - don't bite
Hard French bread - tear into small pieces

Limit foods with a high sugar content
The acids produced by high sugar content foods can attack for twenty minutes or more each time you eat. So, the best time to eat carbohydrates or other sugary foods is during a meal. The mouth produces more saliva during a meal which, in turn, helps to neutralize acid production and rinse food from the mouth. If possible, brush immediately after eating. If it is not possible to do so, rinsing with clear water will help.

Other Orthodontic "No-No's":

Lip biting

Pushing your tongue against your teeth

Chewing on pencils or pens

Tearing things with your teeth

Biting your fingernails



Dr. Alex Hsiao and his staff are dedicated to providing you with the best possible orthodontic care. It is our goal to see that you make it through your treatment without any problems or delays due to loosening or breakage of your braces or appliances. We are providing this information to help make you better aware of how problems can arise and how to avoid them.

Extreme care of bands, brackets, and appliances is necessary. Almost all instances of damaged braces and appliances are directly caused by eating improper foods, and can be avoided by using common sense. 

Appliance loosening and breakage during treatment is to be avoided as it:

?Slows the treatment process
?Causes unwanted tooth movements
?May add several weeks or months to your treatment
?Results in additional fees to repair the damage?May lead to additional office visit fees if the treatment is extended

Why can? I eat anything I want?
There are certain foods or things which are known to weaken the braces and appliances. Also, playing with the braces or appliances with the fingers or tongue can create loosening or breakage problems. This weakening can be gradual or can happen all at once depending on the circumstance. This weakening of the braces and appliances will lead to their loosening and/or breaking.

But I wasn? eating anything wrong when it broke!
We understand that this can be very true.  If the cement or appliance system has been weakened due to previous food or other harmful habits, the braces or appliances can then loosen at seemingly unrelated times.

Anything that causes weakening of the braces or appliances will eventually lead to their loosening or breakage. It only takes one instance of improper food or other harmful habits to lead to problems. While the problem may not show up immediately, it may show up when you least suspect it.

How can I avoid these problems?
Follow the written dietary suggestions which we have provided to you, avoid any harmful habits, and use common sense to protect your braces or appliances from damage.

What if something loosens or breaks?
Please call our office and report any damaged or loosened braces and/or appliances immediately. We will likely schedule a comfort check visit to remove any damaged braces/appliances, assess the damage and plan the next visit to repair the damage. You should not wait until your normal visit to inform us of the problem.

Be careful
The hard work will definitely pay off. Your treatment will be successful and you will be proud of your accomplishment.