Eating proper foods, minimizing sugar intake, avoiding tobacco products, and getting enough sleep are essential during orthodontic treatment. Your Damon braces are a precision appliance that can effectively move your teeth if they remain undamaged. Eating hard, sticky, sweet candy and desserts can loosen bonded brackets, bend wires, cause serious delays in orthodontic treatment, and increase treatment costs. Sweets will promote "gunk" (bacterial plaque) formation on teeth leading to permanent white marks, tooth decay, and swollen gum tissues. 

We recommend our patients avoid treats that play damaging tricks on Damon braces. So steer clear of hard-shelled peanut candies, gummy candies, licorice sticks, taffy, nut-filled candies, suckers, bubblegum, gum, jellybeans, caramels, caramel-filled candies, popcorn, peanuts, taco chips, hard candy, ice, and sugared soft drinks. Soft candies that require no chewing like melt-in-your-mouth nut-free chocolates, ice cream, soft candy bars, peanut butter cups, gelato, smoothies, or other soft desserts or treats are acceptable in moderation.

A picture and list of foods to avoid follows. We hope you will use these examples of "no-no" foods and treats to spot and avoid items that could seriously harm your Damon braces and teeth. 

We encourage patients to have some treats that are acceptable, rather than feel they are missing out. Parents might keep some 'legal' treats on hand to avoid the temptation to snack on junk food and other "no-no" items listed above. The American Association of Orthodontists offers braces-friendly recipes on its Web site, www.mylifemysmile.org. There you will find such recipes for main dishes, side dishes, and desserts. Why not try "Twisty" Soft Pretzels, Sensational Cinnamon Snickerdoodles, Pumpkin Cake, Apple (not too) Crisp, or Fudgy Cocoa Bites? These desserts and many others are there to be printed out and whipped-up. 

After any treat or dessert it is best to rinse well, and then use your toothbrush and waterpik to prevent plaque-caused permanent white marks and swollen gums around the margins of the braces. Finally, don't forget when you or your child's braces come off and your smile is free of any white mark blemishes that it was worth the effort to push away treats that play tricks on smiles and eat something really worthwhile.