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Undergoing orthodontic treatment can be a very challenging time for adults and young children. One of the big questions, after you find out how long you’ll have to wear them, is… Will I have to change what I eat?  Unfortunately, both children and adults will need to avoid certain foods or treats while undergoing orthodontic treatment.  Certain foods cause problems with orthodontic braces, and knowing what they are so that you can find alternatives, will make for an easier course of treatment. Eating or drinking the wrong thing can lead to brackets or wires breaking loose, tooth decay, and unsightly staining during orthodontic treatment.

Foods and Habits To Avoid

It is always recommended to follow a well balanced diet as this will give you the most benefit in your overall health as well as your dental health. The following are the types of foods to avoid to give you the best chance for orthodontic success:

Avoid Sticky and Sugary Foods. Cutting back on hard (nerds), sticky (milkduds), and gummy candies, white bread, donuts, oreos, etc. are always a good choice even without orthodontic braces. While wearing orthodontic brackets and wires theses sticky and acidic foods will stay trapped between the brackets and wires. This increases the likelihood of developing tooth decay during orthodontic treatment. The stickiness can also lead to broken wires and brackets.

-Avoid High Acid/ High Sugar Beverages.  Soft drinks with high acid and high sugar can break down the bracket bonds and cause loosening of brackets, staining and decay. Alcoholic beverages have higher acids, dry out the mouth and cause tooth decay. Red wine may cause staining of the teeth and adhesive bond material around brackets.

Eat Smaller Pieces Of Food. Cut your food into smaller pieces and avoid biting into foods if possible. Break pieces off with your fingers or use a knife and fork. This will make them less harmful to your braces. Large pieces of something as seemingly harmless as an apple can have the effect of breaking down your brackets and loosening them. Broken brackets require increased visits to the orthodontist and can potentially delay results. Biting into large sandwiches, gnawing on ribs or chicken wings, nibbling on a cob of corn, can all cause loosening of brackets.  A good tip is to cut the apple into smaller pieces, take the meat off the bones and slice the kernels off the cob.

Avoid Hard, Crunchy, Chewy Snacks. This includes popcorn, corn nuts, hard pretzels, beef jerky, bagels, pizza crusts. These can break orthodontic brackets and once again delay orthodontic care.

Biting Or Chewing On Non-Edible Items. Nervous habits can do harm to our braces. These can include biting on nails, pens or pencils, using tooth picks.

Bubble Gum. Bubble gum is the enemy of braces. It gets stuck inside all the grooves of the brackets and wires.

Ice. Chewing ice can damage the bond between your teeth and your braces. There is also a good chance you can fracture your teeth as well.

Highly Staining Foods and Smoking. If you are wearing clear (white) porcelain brackets, or any elastics, they can stain from red wine, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, and cigarette smoke. While it may seem like all foods are harmful there are plenty of healthy alternative snacks that do not harm your orthodontic braces. These can include yogurt, jell-o, pudding, cheese, and even chocolate bars (without nuts of course).

Orthodontics Conclusion

Orthodontic care will lead to an improved smile as long as you follow good habits. You need to be diligent in caring for your braces and maintaining good at home dental hygiene. Follow the instructions from your orthodontist, and avoid harmful foods and habits. Doing your best should help you avoid many problems, wasted time, embarrassing staining of teeth, and dental decay. Visit your dentist every 3 months during orthodontic treatment and continue with routine dental examinations.




Starting off right is true for many things in life but it is especially true in dental care. Building a good dental health foundation early in life will pay big dividends as our children get older. These habits will allow your children to maintain a healthy smile as a child and as an adult. Not only will their teeth be healthier but so will their overall general health. Self care is one of the most important lessons a parent can teach a child.

Pediatric Dental Care Tips

Start Early. Many parents falsely believe that since primary teeth will fall out anyway that they are not important. This is totally false. A child’s dental care begins when that first tooth erupts into the mouth. These teeth will be small but can be brushed with a soft infant toothbrush or a wet washcloth. The general rule of thumb is the first dental visit should by at or around age 1. These visits will be educational for the parents but also allow the child to feel comfortable in the dental office. Early treatment will also save you money over time as you will catch any issues early and also learn proper prevention techniques.

Include Your Child. As your child matures they can handle more of the responsibility of dental hygiene. They will feel good about themselves and feel like a big kid if they can accomplish these simple tasks. Some good tips to get them to brush properly include playing their favorite song while they brush or even give them a small reward when they do a good job. Many parents simply allow their children to brush on their own. This can be a big mistake. You need to check that they did a good job especially early on.

Nutrition Is A Factor. Eating right will not only help your childs growth and development but it will also help with their dental health. Eating a balanced diet will help your child’s teeth to develop properly becoming strong. Limit the sugars that they eat but know it is impossible to avoid sugars totally. If your child does snack on a sugary treat make sure they brush and rinse after finishing. This will minimize the chances of tooth decay developing.

Beware Of Medications. Many children’s medications have a lot of sugar in their ingredients. This gives childrens medicine their better taste and make them easier to drink. So beware of this and make sure your child rinses with water following taking their medications or even better brush following. Another tip is for children with asthma. Asthma inhalers will develop bacteria over time and need to be cleaned daily. These inhalers will also dry out your child’s mouth which can lead to tooth decay as well. Our saliva is our natural defense against tooth decay.

Stop Pacifier Use By Age 2. Pacifiers are very dangerous to your child’s teeth as they get older. Continuing pacifier use past age 2 could lead to malocclusions (crooked teeth with an open bite).

Rethink Your Child’s Drink Choice. Many children enjoy juice and use a sippy cup until they are old enough to use a regular glass. You should never let them fall asleep in their crib with a juice cup. It will lead to what is called baby bottle tooth decay. Giving juice to your child is totally ok but do not allow them to sip slowly on the juice cup. It is best to finish it all at once and then rinse with water or brush. Milk is actually the better choice if the child will drink it.

Beware Of Teeth Grinding. Teeth grinding is quite common in children under the age of 7 years old. It usually stops on its own with no damage to the teeth. If it persists, call your dentist to evaluate the cause of the issue. Many times it can be a change in routine, or a problem at school that they are unable to communicate properly. Children who are hyperactive or have certain medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy, may also grind.

Pediatric Dentistry Conclusion

Maintaining good dental health for our children can be challenging for many parents. The results are worthwhile as your children will be happier and healthier. As always visit your dentist regularly for regular dental examinations and professional cleaning.



As we are in the middle of the Holiday season there are lots of tempting treats to pick on. Most are okay in moderation but some are likely to create problems for your dental health. Issues that could be created include tooth decay and even fractured teeth. Below are a listing of some to be careful of:

1. Popcorn. An old favorite usually enjoyed at the movies but around holiday time regular old popcorn becomes coated in caramel. Normally popcorn presents challenges for teeth due to biting on popcorn kernels and popcorn husks getting stuck between teeth. Those pesky popcorn kernels have been known to cause broken teeth and fracture fillings. Add the caramel and it is a recipe for disaster as the caramel masks the kernels and sticks in and around your teeth. This can break a tooth, or create an environment ripe for development of tooth decay. So think twice and beware if  indulging in this holiday favorite.

2. Dried Fruit. Seems like this would be a healthy snack but the sugars in the dried fruit are concentrated and their dry texture makes them stick longer to teeth. This allows acid producing bacteria in your mouth to have a chance to work on your tooth enamel. Be smart, and floss after or chose fresh fruit instead.

3. White Flour Crackers. We love these crackers with cheese spreads as a pre holiday meal snack. Did you know the bleached white flour turns almost immediately into sugar, which is food for the bacteria in your mouth to create an acid filled environment for tooth decay. Choose whole grain versions of these favorite crackers for better dental health as well as general health.

4. Candy Canes. A traditional favorite that can also cause fractures to teeth if you choose to bite into them. Sucking on hard candy makes the sugar acids linger longer in your mouth. Break off a small piece, and drink water after.

5. Christmas cookies and fudge.These are hard to pass up, especially at a party! Remember that very high sugar content, white flour and the stickiness are the contributors to tooth decay. Try eating some carrots or celery directly after you partake in these sweet treats.

6. Peanut brittle. Some peanut brittle is harder or stickier than others. You can pull out a crown or filling or break a tooth. Try moistening a small piece in your mouth to soften it before chewing. You will certainly need to floss after this snack!

Dental Hygiene Tips for Holidays

Drink Water. Plenty of it to swish and rinse your mouth.This will reduce the acid producing sugars and food debris from holiday snacking.

Crunch on raw veggies. They will help clear the stickiness and stimulate salivary flow.

Brush and Floss After Snacking. Brushing and flossing after snacking will neutralize the acid build up and not allow the tooth enamel to be broken down.

Enjoy the Holidays, just use your judgement to make good choices. You can still eat the special foods you love, just do it wisely. Remember, smiles are contagious, spread some holiday cheer with your beautiful smile!



Tooth decay is an age old problem that has affected generations of children and adults. Tooth decay is preventable, we just need to understand what causes it so that we may then prevent it from occurring.

Tooth decay is caused by a bacterial intrusion into the tooth. The bacteria feed on the buildup of food debris on teeth. The bacteria then secrete acids which breakdown tooth enamel. Once the acid forms a hole in the enamel, the bacteria can then enter the tooth and progressively breakdown the tooth, causing a cavity.  Understanding this process is critical to maintaining oral health and preventing tooth decay.

Best Tips To Prevent Tooth Decay

Maintain Proper Dental Hygiene. This is the first step to preventing tooth decay. Proper dental hygiene should include, brushing, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. Toothbrushing should be done at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Brushing more often during the day will enhance your dental hygiene. Flossing should be done at least once a day (preferably before bedtime) but it can also be done more often.  The goal in dental hygiene is to not only keep down the amount of debris in the mouth but also to keep the environment from becoming acidic which will allow bacteria to more agressively break down teeth causing tooth decay.

Use of an antibacterial/fluoride mouthwash (such as purple listerine)is often overlooked but is also important. These oral rinses are designed to decrease cavity causing bacteria in the mouth while utilizing fluoride to strengthen enamel against breakdown. If brushing and flossing is done properly, use of an oral rinse should complete the protection against tooth decay.

Sugarless Gum. Sugarless gum is important because it stimulates salivary flow. The increased saliva in the mouth will help to keep our teeth clean. Saliva is the mouth’s natural defense against oral bacteria. Choose a sugarless gum with xylitol. Bacteria can not feed on xylitol, because it cannot be metabolized. This helps keep the acid levels lower. Xylitol has also been shown to help remineralize our teeth’s enamel.

Maintaining Proper Nutrition. Choosing foods and drinks wisely is important to your overall health as well as your dental health. By eating properly, you are able to keep your body as healthy as possible allowing your body to fight off any attack. The best snacks for your dental health include raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Avoiding sugar is not always an option so it is important to minimize the damage. Apples are actually the perfect snack for dental health as they act as a tooth cleaner and whitener. They are able to clean your teeth by the abrasive action of the skin and hard inner surface of the apple, malic acid in the apple helps to remove surface stain and keep teeth whiter. You can actually squueze juice from an apple and mix it with baking soda to brush on and whiten your teeth. So next time you are looking for a midday snack pick up a shiny apple.

Drink Fluoridated Water. While fluoride is a controversial topic for many. It has been proven time and again to protect our teeth from tooth decay. Fluoridated water is important for children to drink. The fluoride becomes a permanent part of the tooth when it is consumed during tooth development.  Drinking at least 16oz of fluoridated water each day will help prevent tooth decay. Another option is to use a supplemental fluoride prescribed by your dentist.

-Dental Sealants. Many believe dental sealants are just for children but that is not so. If an adult has no tooth decay on the tooth in question nor any previous dental restorations a sealant can be placed and be effective. A dental sealant is designed to cover the chewing surfaces of premolars and molars. This keeps the grooves of our teeth from developing tooth decay. In many of us, these grooves are quite deep and are an inherent weakness in the fight against tooth decay.

Tooth Decay Conclusion

Tooth decay is preventable with diligent dental hygiene and maintaining regularly scheduled dental visits. Maybe in the future, we can eventually wipe out tooth decay . Until then, we need to follow the steps above to maintain good oral health.