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Braces make places on your teeth more difficult to reach and to clean well. Combined with a diet filled with sugary foods, a host of un-welcomed problems can occur. In order to avoid permanent etching and discoloration around the bands and brackets we encourage you to use a soft toothbrush, taking your time, flossing and seeing your general dentist regularly for cleaning and maintenance.

Taking care of your appliances and keeping up with your appointments will yield the best results for your treatment.


Brushing and Flossing is your top priority!  Check out this video guide: 

Floss teeth at least once a day.

Insert floss behind arch-wire and clean gums with and up-and-down motion.


Brush teeth at least 3 times a day.

Loosen up all the food using your inter-proximal brush or the edge of your toothbrush. Brush in a circular motion above and below the braces, the insides and biting surfaces of your teeth.


Excellent brushing and flossing will result in healthy gums and beautiful teeth.

Poor brushing and flossing will result in decay, swollen gums, and white spots on permanent teeth.

Please avoid using whitening products while in braces, as they can not whiten the spaces under the brackets/braces and will result in spotting on the teeth.


Please continue to visit your General Dentist regularly while you have braces.

Foods to avoid:

Those that are really sticky:

Caramel, ALL Gum, Gummy Bears/Worms, Starburst, Skittles, Taffy.

These types of food can immediately remove brackets or eventually pull on the braces enough to wear down the glue and in time make pieces loose.



Hard rolls/Toasted baguettes, Ice, Nuts, Pretzels, Raw Carrots, Apples, Corn Chips.

These types of foods can break a bracket or a wire if you bite down on them.

Tip: For Apples and Carrots you can cut them into thin pieces and chew on your back teeth, or steam the carrots. Watch out when eating fruits with a middle pit


Foods that you bite down and pull to eat:

Pizza Crust, Jerky, Licorice, Meats on a bone (Ribs, Chicken Wings), Corn on the cob.

Parts of the braces can get caught in the fiber and pulled off. 

Tip: If you elect to eat these types of food, please cut meat off the bone into thin slices and chew with back teeth/molars. Shave corn off the cob



Do not chew on anything hard including pencils or fingernails

Don't bite into anything and pull away with your teeth

The smaller the pieces, the better.

Appliance Expectations and Care:


Please do not play with them, keep fingers out of the mouth, brush but don't floss at separators and no gum/sticky foods which can cause removal. 

Head Gear:

Remove for rough play or sports to avoid bending/breakage 

bring to every appointment.

Palatal Expander: 



  • Wear your retainers ALL Day/Night until Dr. Helm tells you otherwise.

  • Keep your retainers in the case when they are not in your mouth.

  • Brush your retainers 2x a day with your toothbrush and toothpaste.

  • Soak your retainers in denture cleaner/mouthwash/baking soda & water to help keep it clean. (Optional)

  • Keep away from pets. (They tend to be attracted to the scent)

  • Call the office immediately if your retainers are lost or broken. (Save all pieces)

  • Keep your molds in a safe place.

  • Bring your retainers to every appointment.



  • Never wrap your retainers in a napkin. They will get thrown away accidentally.

  • Boil/Microwave/Place near heat. It is plastic and can melt/become distorted.

  • Soak in alcohol or alcohol-based liquids. It will cause the retainers to turn white.

  • Play with the retainers because the wire or plastic will break. (Example: Flipping/taking the retainers out using your tongue)

  • Wear during sports or brushing.

  • Wear when eating/chewing gum/drinking hot liquids. (coffee, tea, cocoa)


bring to every appointment.

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