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Braces have been put on your teeth to make them straight and nice-looking. It is important to keep your teeth and gums clean and free of plaque (plak) while your braces are on. Plaque is a harmful layer of bacteria on the teeth that can cause cavities. Without regular brushing, your teeth may decay.
It is up to you to keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy. While you have your braces, you need to brush your teeth and gums 5 times a day for at least 5 minutes at each brushing. You can do this when you wake up, after each meal, and before you go to bed. When you brush your teeth, use the method shown below.
The correct way to brush your teeth.
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria and by-products from bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. Germs live in the plaque and stick to the teeth. The germs digest sugary foods and make acid (Picture 2). If this acid stays on the teeth, it attacks the tooth enamel. This causes cavities and makes the gums sore.
To prevent the braces from breaking or coming loose, you should NOT eat:
-Corn on the cob
-Bagels (cut them into pieces)
-Ice (do not chew it)
-Whole raw carrots (cut them into strips)
-Hard tack candy
-Whole hard apples (cut them into pieces)
-Gum of any kind
Flossing with braces is done about the same way as you would floss without braces, except that the floss must be threaded under the arch wire and between the teeth. A floss threader, which looks like a large plastic needle (Picture 3), can make this easier.
If you have any questions, please ask your dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant.
HH-IV-59 2/80, Revised 4/10 Copyright 1980-2010, Nationwide Children’s Hospital