Oral Hygiene and Home Care

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is a very important part of your orthodontic treatment. You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces and other orthodontic appliances. Food compacts onto the brackets and also, between and around your teeth. This food deposits can only be removed by daily proper and thorough brushing and flossing. If plaque or food deposits remains on the teeth for any significant amount of time, it can leave a permanent white scar or markings on the teeth surfaces. Thorough brushing and flossing after each meal should become part of your daily routine throughout your orthodontic treatment.


Use a soft or extra-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. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray. 

Dr. Patel’s personal favorite is the Sonicare Diamond Clean Smart Electric Toothbrush with Bluetooth wireless technology.  The smart sensors take the guesswork out of brushing.   


We recommend daily flossing of your teeth.

Dr Patel’s personal favorite is the Philips Sonicare AirFloss water flosser is an easier way to clean between your teeth after meals.

Fluoride Gel: 

The use of a fluoride gel toothpaste at least every night after thorough brushing and flossing is very helpful in preventing or minimizing teeth decalcification. Fluoride containing rinses and gels are available over-the-counter and by prescription. If you are not using it already, please speak to Dr. Patel, who will be glad to provide you with a prescription and proper instructions in using the fluoride gel and rinse.

During Orthodontic Treatment:

Regular Dental checkup(s)/Dental cleaning(s):

Dr. Patel strongly recommends that you get a complete dental checkup and cleaning prior to beginning orthodontic treatment. Once orthodontic treatment has begun, please see your dentist at least every 3-4 months or more often if recommended for dental checkups, cleanings and fluoride treatments to minimize gum problems, teeth decay and teeth decalcifications.

Keep all your regularly scheduled appointments:

Orthodontic treatment usually proceeds as planned, and we intend to do everything possible to achieve the best results for every patient. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be completely satisfied with your results, nor can all complications or consequences be anticipated. The success of treatment depends on your cooperation in keeping all scheduled appointments, maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding loose or broken appliances, and following the orthodontist’s instructions carefully.  The length of the treatment depends on a number of issues, including the severity of the orthodontic problem(s), patient’s growth and the level of cooperation.

Eating Habits:

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.

Absolutely No:

  • Gum: Sugarless or otherwise
  • Sticky Foods:
  • Caramels
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Starbursts
  • Caramel Apples
  • Sugar Babies
  • Licorice
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Now & Laters
Eat with Caution or Cut up:

  • Hard Foods
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Bagels
  • Apples
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Pizza Crusts
  • Carrots (uncooked)
  • Doritos
  • Pretzels
Eat much less:

  • Candy
  • Ice Cream
  • Cake, Cookies
  • Pie
  • Foods with Sugar

Drink much less:

  • Pop/Soda
  • Drinks with Sugar


Retainers Fulton MDOnce the active period is completed, your braces are removed or your aligner treatment is completed, the step is called Retention. Retainers are utilized to hold your teeth in their new positions until your bone, gums, and muscles adapt to the new teeth positions. You must wear your retainer as instructed, otherwise your teeth may move toward their original positions and the benefit of wearing your braces or aligners will be lost.

Based on your pre-treatment orthodontic issues, we will determine how long you need to wear your retainers. Time varies with each patient. Some people may need retainers for an extended period of time in order to eliminate shifting of the teeth. In some cases, permanent retention or wearing of retainers may be necessary.

Remember, wear them in your mouth, not in your pocket. Retainers work when you follow our instructions.

Clean your retainers! After meals, clean all parts of the retainer with a brush.  Handle your retainers with care. Retainers are easy to lose. If you take your retainers out, always place them in your retainer case for safety. 

The retention period is an important part of your overall treatment and should not be neglected.