Braces in Santa Monica
Foods to Avoid & Eat with Braces
There are certain foods that can damage your braces and should be avoided. Your orthodontic experience will be smooth and your time shortened by following these simple diet instructions. We know we can count on you!
Hard and Crunchy
- Hard candies
- Hard fruits and veggies should be cut into pieces or cooked until soft
- Hard breads should be cut into pieces
- Corn on the cob should have kernels cut off
- Ribs should have meat removed off bones
- Chewing on pens, pencils, and fingernails
Sticky and Chewy
- Peanut Butter
High Sugar Content
- Soft drinks
Brushing and Flossing
Keeping your teeth clean is an integral part of having braces.
Make sure you are seeing your dentist at least once every 6 months. If you are building up plaque and calculus at a faster rate, we may recommend to have your cleanings done more frequently, once every 3 to 4 months.
We recommend to use a soft bristle toothbrush and to brush thoroughly around each tooth and bracket in all dimensions. A common area that is often overlooked is around the gums. Make sure to brush lightly yet thoroughly in the area between your brackets and gums so that they stay healthy.
There are bristle heads for manual and electronic toothbrushes designed for use with braces. The main difference is that the center bristles are slightly shorter to make room for your brackets.
Remember, you should be brushing for two minutes, at least two times a day.
You will need to floss differently with braces, and there are several flossing aids we recommend, including:
- Floss Threader
- Platypus Flosser
Remember, you should be flossing at least once a day between all your teeth contacts.
Here are some additional aids to help keep your teeth clean:
- Waterpik creates a targeted stream of water to flush out food and plaque.
- Fine inter-proximal brushes are used to clean underneath and around your wires and braces.
Taking Care of Your Braces
Soreness from Braces
A generalized soreness from your braces is perfectly normal as your teeth are moving. Here are some helpful ways to ease the discomfort:
- Drink ice water. This can give you a numbing sensation and reduce inflammation.
- Eat soft foods such as soup and smoothies to reduce tooth sensitivity.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication only as needed.
Food caught between teeth
This can be easily resolved with either dental floss, an interproximal brush or toothpick to dislodge the food.
Irritation of Lips or Cheeks
When braces are first placed, it may take a few days up to one week for your tissues to adjust to your new appliances.
If your lips or cheeks are irritated, you may simply pinch off a piece of wax and roll it into a ball about the size of a pea. Flatten the ball and place it over the braces area to relieve you of discomfort. Make sure you dry the area with a tissue prior to placing the wax so that the wax will stay on well.
You can use a cotton swab or pencil eraser to nudge the wire back towards the front of your mouth. If the wire cannot be moved easily, you may use wax to cover it for relief.
Please call our office if you would like to come in to have your wire adjusted. If you are unable to come in soon, you may also use a clean nail clipper to cut the wire yourself.
If this happens, please call us to schedule an appointment. Please be sure to save and bring with you any piece(s) that may have come off.
Playing Sports with Braces
If you are playing sports with braces, it is important to wear a mouth guard over your braces. Wearing a mouth guard cannot prevent injuries from occurring, but in most cases, it may help reduce the severity of injuries.
There are “Boil and Bite” mouth guards which are made specifically for braces. When heated, the shape can be adapted to fit over your orthodontic appliances.