Successful orthodontic treatment depends primarily on patients’ compliance with orthodontist recommendations. Conversely, patients’ poor commitment to following basic guidelines can result in longer treatment times and increased effort to obtain optimal results.
Orthodontists specialized training allows high levels of effectiveness when developing customized treatments and outcomes. In addition, an orthodontist qualification enhances the capability to determine treatment times according to a malocclusion severity.
Notwithstanding, an orthodontic system’s functionality also relies on the teeth’ response to strain. Other factors include bone density and the body’s inflammatory process to adapt to displacement that might contribute to shortening or expanding treatment length.
Therefore, a proper evaluation of cases and a body response to forces help approximate treatment duration closely. Additionally, treatment can only be facilitated with a patient’s commitment to follow professional recommendations to attain high levels of success.
Here, we have listed some of the most frequent advice to shorten and enhance orthodontic treatment effectiveness:
Enhanced Oral Hygiene Habits
In ordinary circumstances, a dentist advises patients to practice continuous oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing after meals, avoiding or limiting ingesting sugary drinks and foods, and visiting a dentist at least twice a year for checkups and cleanings.
For patients wearing orthodontic appliances, that advice is transcendental as they not only impact their oral health but the orthodontic procedure’s outcome. Teeth require a suitable environment to displace. For instance, swollen gums slow teeth movement.
Moreover, food and debris accumulate on braces and wires, making a patient prone to tooth decay which might need treatment. Consequently, an orthodontist must remove braces to cure damaged teeth delaying treatment time.
Worst case scenario, poor oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment might result in losing a denture piece, heavily impacting a treatment plan. Furthermore, chances are an orthodontist needs to redo the process.
Elastic (Rubbers Bands)
Specific orthodontic treatments require the use of elastics as a part of the displacement process of teeth. Elastics exert additional controlled strain over specific teeth and help accelerate the final result.
Not wearing elastics or not doing so as recommended constrains the potential of the physical forces that can be applied to move teeth. To worsen the scenario, jaw muscles move teeth backward when failing to use elastic rubber bands.
Attending Adjustment and Check-Up Visits
There is only one way to evaluate a treatment progression; this is by continuously attending programmed visits. Also, checkups serve to adjust braces to advance to the next stage of the process gradually. Therefore, failing to attend programmed visits regularly negatively impacts the treatment’s duration.
Follow Dietary Recommendations
Dietary recommendations comprise committing to avoid certain foods that can break or damage the components of the braces system. For example, brackets might fall off, and wires might displace or brake, which inevitably moves treatment backward, as braces only work when correctly positioned on a patient’s teeth.
Still, entering a diet does not mean avoiding nutritious foods because they are hard to chew, sticky, or crunchy. Therefore, we have some recommendations for a healthy and balanced diet during orthodontic treatment:
What Is a Balanced and Healthy Diet During Orthodontic Treatment?
There are several nutrients the human body needs, not only to survive but to have full functionality of tissue and organs and for the natural daily functions like thinking, digestion, movement, breathing, and any other human body process.
Nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and proteins are in different food sources. This means humans require a balanced portion of fruits, vegetables, and grains that help support all body functions.
Vegetables and fruits have vitamins and minerals. For instance, nutritionists recommend children ingest 1 to 2 cups of fruit and vegetables daily. In addition, nutrients like fiber, which is good for digestion, and iron, which is part of blood, are found in whole grains.
Also, talking about bones and teeth, dairy products contain calcium which helps, especially kids, develop a robust bony tissue. Additionally, dairy products contribute vitamin D, potassium, and protein. The best thing about dairy products is that they are soft and easy to chew.
Meat is an excellent source of iron, and especially proteins needed for muscle regeneration and other essential processes in the human body. Some people prefer to refrain from eating meat, but they find alternative sources of protein that can be a perfect substitute.
A patient can attain a balanced and healthy diet without compromising an orthodontic treatment result. Here we include a list of foods you should avoid with recently installed braces, others you must avoid permanently during the entire process, and the good part, foods you can enjoy without guilt.
What Not to Eat With Braces
You might ask yourself, why do we list the restricted foods first? It is optimal to get a clear idea of what foods might damage your treatment and emphasize the relevance of the outcome.
So, detailing these foods will help you notice the importance of taking them out of your grocery list. Then, following this pattern, we start mentioning the foods that might produce soreness and discomfort right after you get your braces on or have adjustments.
Foods to Avoid After Braces Installation or Adjustments
Spicy and Citrus Foods
Your teeth will be sensitive, and these foods might produce an inflammatory process.
Ice Cream or Frozen Treats
Teeth might be sensitive, and frosty ice cream might produce soreness.
Pieces of bread or Thick Rolls
They are hard to bite, especially when first having braces.
Thick Cuts of Meat
Thick cuts of meat are hard to bite and might damage your braces.
You can carefully resume eating these foods after you feel less discomfort from newly mounted braces or adjustments.
What Are the Foods You Need to Avoid During the Entire Orthodontic Treatment?
Hard to Bite Fruits
Apples, pears, and peaches are some examples of fruits we recommend not to eat, at least not in their natural form. However, you can cut these fruits into small pieces to chew them with your molars (back teeth).
Whole or chunky nuts and seeds are hard to bite and might break or detach a bracket; or derail or break a wire. Some orthodontic treatments include elastic rubber bands that might move orthodontic treatment backward once broken.
Sometimes patients, after biting nuts, might not notice any change in the components of the treatment. However, subtle changes occur on the archwires, and a slight bend might move teeth into an unplanned position.
Unground Whole Grains
Whole grains might get stuck in the brackets and the spaces formed between wires and teeth. In addition, food particles enhance bacteria proliferation, and as described in the first part of this article, they cause terrible teeth-related diseases interrupting or slowing orthodontic treatment.
Hard Crusted Bread
Pizza crust and hard-crusted bread, including bagels, are hard to bite. So you might as well with fruits, cut them into tiny pieces before eating them.
Also, refrain from eating foods from the following list:
- small seeds and grains;
- chewing gum (except ADA-approved sugar-free gum);
- hard candy;
- chewy candy;
- bagels and other hard rolls;
- hard raw vegetables;
- crunchy vegetables and fruits;
- hard crackers;
- pretzels and;
During orthodontic treatment, orthodontists recommend patients avoid sugary drinks and foods as they might contribute to plaque and tartar formation and is an antecedent of potential tooth decay or even tooth loss.
Occasional sugary drinks or foods might be all right, but patients should limit their consumption to the most possible.
What to Eat With Braces?
Here is the part we have all been waiting to read. What foods can patients prepare and are delicious at the same time? Here we include a brief list of the most common foods you can eat during orthodontic treatment. As well as previously described in this article, we start from a list that tackles the first days of treatment or adjustments.
What to Eat With Braces the First Week?
Here is a simple list of foodies you can deal with the first week to avoid inflammation or soreness:
Cooking vegetables help make them soft and easy to chew.
Options include all sorts of berries, especially if teeth are sensitive, for instance: “blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.”
The most basic of these products are milk and yogurt. Fortunately, milk, yogurt, and cheese all come in varieties for lactose intolerant people and are also low-fat. However, when eating cheese, make sure it does get stuck on your braces and cut small pieces before eating it.
Lean Tender Meat or Tofu
Yes, you can enjoy meat while having braces; just have some care. When choosing meat, try buying lean and tender cuts without bone. As well as with many other foods, make small bite-sized cuts. Beef, pork, chicken, and fish are excellent sources of protein. Tofu is a great replacement for animal protein if you are a vegetarian.
Instead of eating whole nuts, you might buy spreads like peanut butter.
Some of the options you also have that will indeed prevent you from starving and are also delicious include:
- scrambled eggs;
- mashed potatoes;
- moist desserts and;
- soft cooked grains, soft crusted bread
The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene requires a more comprehensive approach to detail than when not wearing orthodontic appliances. As food particles and debris might get stuck in between brackets and wires, bacteria accumulate, forming a shield name biofilm that can cause tooth decay and gingival disease.
Getting rid of any particle that breeds bacteria is essential during orthodontic treatment. In addition to proper brushing and flossing, dentists and orthodontists recommend using specially designed utensils to improve cleaning efficiency.
A patient’s compliance with recommendations might include using an interdental flosser that is functionality designed to replace a traditional flosser, as it can reach spaces between wires and teeth.
Also, orthodontists sometimes recommend water irrigators that throw pressurized water to unclog food rests between braces and teeth. Some other acceptable recommendations include mouthwashes to complete a cleaning routine.
Finally, and not less important, schedule periodic visits to your dentist and orthodontist. Clean teeth respond faster to mechanical stress, and they together know how to help you get healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.