Diet And Oral Hygiene

Pediatric Dental Professionals

Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics located in Austin, TX

At Pediatric Dental Professionals in Austin, Texas, we strive to reach your ultimate goal of a beautiful healthy smile. One of the main struggles with orthodontics is oral hygiene at home. Pedatric Dentist, Danny Watts, DDS, MSD and Orthodontist Stephen Robirds, DDS, have implemented a dental hygiene program that will aid and assist the patient in treatment to prevent our two biggest enemies in orthodontics - Decalcification, and Gingivitis. As part of our orthodontic hygiene program, we recommend cleanings at 3-month intervals for all orthodontic patients. Proper brushing and flossing can actually help orthodontics produce better, faster results. To learn more, call the office or book an appointment online today.

Diet and Oral Hygiene Q & A

How do diet and oral hygiene affect orthodontic treatments? 

Just because braces straighten your teeth doesn’t mean you can neglect other parts of your oral care. You know that oral hygiene is important, but if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, then oral hygiene becomes crucial. While the braces are straightening your misaligned teeth, foods can get trapped in the brackets or clear aligners. This food will stay trapped against the teeth and can lead to the formation of plaque.  The bacteria in the plaque feed on the sugars that enter your mouth and produce acids that erode your teeth and damage your gums, leading to conditions such as Gingivitis.

According to the American Dental Association, orthodontic patients are at a higher risk of developing gingivitis and permanent white spot lesions. Your oral hygiene habits affect the health of your teeth and gums, but braces can complicate matters for all orthodontic patients. That’s why Dr. Watts and Dr. Robirds have developed and highly recommend a special oral hygiene program for patients to help them maintain excellent oral health even during orthodontic treatment. The oral hygiene program includes cleanings at 3 month intervals, often scheduled on the same day as your orthodontic appointment.  The visit will include a thorough cleaning, application of fluoride varnish and one-on-one oral hygiene instructions given by our dedicated dental hygienist. The hygienist will show the patient-specific areas that need improvement and will review proper brushing and flossing techniques.  

What is the diet part of the program? 

When you have braces, it’s important to watch what you eat. That’s because it’s harder to keep your teeth clean and healthy with braces, but also because certain foods can damage your braces and lengthen your treatment plan. 

These foods can lead to bent or damaged wiring of your braces: 

  • Pizza crust
  • Hard rolls, pretzels, or bagels
  • Hard taco shells
  • Popcorn
  • Beef jerky
  • Meat on the bone 
  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard candy
  • Caramel, taffy, and sugary gum

Avoid biting your fingernails, as this is a common way to ruin your braces. 

What is the oral hygiene part of the program? 

The oral hygiene part of Dr. Robird’s program is meant to help you keep your teeth clean and healthy throughout orthodontic treatment Here are the areas of concern: 

Brushing techniques

Brushing your teeth with metal brackets on your teeth is an art form. Dr. Robirds shows you proper form and provides tips on how to best care for your teeth with braces. 

Flossing techniques

Flossing is a key part of your oral hygiene routine. Braces can complicate flossing so Dr. Robirds helps you learn how to adapt and maintain effective flossing even with braces on your teeth. 


Dr. Robirds explains why wearing retainers as advised is such a critical part of your orthodontic treatment, even though it happens once your braces are off. Retainers help you maintain good oral hygiene after braces. In many cases, without a retainer to help hold your teeth in alignment, your teeth can return to their pre-treatment locations and require further orthodontic treatment. 

What are decalcification and gingivitis? 

Decalcification is the white line or "white spot" that you see closest to the gums in the video below. These are permanent white spots caused by plaque sitting on the tooth surface for an extended period of time. You can even see the outline of the bracket on the teeth once the braces were removed.

Gum Disease starts when plaque and tartar (calculus) are allowed to accumulate at the base of your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque leads to an infection in the gums called Gingivitis. Left untreated, the infection spreads to the tissue and bone that holds your teeth in place, a condition called Periodontitis.

These conditions can be prevented with good oral hygiene at home as well as regular visits to the dentist.

To schedule a visit with Dr. Robirds, call the office or book an appointment online today.