You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food compacts in the brackets and between your teeth, and can only be removed by brushing and flossing. If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it will leave a permanent white scar on the surface. Brushing after meals should become part of your daily schedule. Use a soft toothbrush with firm pressure and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth and gum; brush in small circles above and below the brackets. Click here for visual instructions. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray. A Waterpik can be a useful addition but it cannot remove the sticky plaque that adheres to the teeth. Sonicare toothbrushes are very helpful. Flossing is important and should be done every day.
Please do not eat hard foods: nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spareribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating), and popcorn! These foods risk breaking brackets and wires. Also beware of nail biting and pen or pencil chewing habits, since these can damage your braces. Do not eat sticky foods: taffy, caramels, bubble gum, or sticky candy of any sort. Use common sense about most foods.