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Foods to watch out for during orthodontic treatment

Most patients (and prospective patients) know that they need to be careful when it comes to which foods they can eat.  They understand that certain types of foods can cause problems in the long run either by dislodging (breaking) the appliance (for example knocking off brackets) or getting stuck in the appliance and having secondary effects like inflammation (like temporary gingivitis), decalcification (aka white-spots) or even cavities.

To prevent these unwanted consequences, our orthodontic patients need to watch out for hard and crunchy foods (nuts, ice, taco shells or chips and even breads with stiff crusts).  It’s also important to cut up vegetables into small pieces.  Make sure that you only suck (don’t bite into) hard candies like “Jolly Ranchers” or even medicinal aids like cough drops.  Make sure to avoid sticky-sweet candy like starburst, caramels, and sour-patch kids.

Avoiding or being very careful with these types of foods can help prevent emergency appointments (replacing dislodged brackets) which will help prevent extra trips to the orthodontic office and assist in finishing your treatment as efficiently (fast) as possible.

Clear aligners are a different story.  Here the same types of warnings don’t apply.  A Clear Aligner patient can knock off a “bump” (aka attachment or engager) but this is often rare.  The biggest caution for Clear Aligner patients is to make sure to not drink sugary drinks while your aligners are in.  If you forget and do drink something sugary, remember to flush out your mouth and aligners with water to avoid any potential for white-spots or cavities.  It’s very rare to find a patient who has caused white spots or cavities with their aligners but it has been known to happen when the aligners are only removed once a day to brush or not removed at all.

For any type of orthodontic patient, it’s incredibly important to brush and floss every day and to remember to continue your regular cleaning/X-ray/check-up appointments with your general dentist!