As you begin the journey towards a straighter, more confident smile, braces become your trusted companions, working tirelessly to align your teeth into a radiant smile. While braces work diligently to reshape your grin, making informed choices about your diet is crucial to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment and protect your orthodontic appliances. This blog post will serve as your comprehensive guide to the foods you can and can’t eat when you have braces, ensuring that you can continue enjoying delicious meals while maintaining your smile’s progress.

Foods You Can Embrace with Braces

Soft and Smooth Foods: These gentle treats won’t put unnecessary strain on your braces or cause discomfort. Examples include yogurt, mashed potatoes, smoothies, soups, and cooked pasta.

Cut Fruit and Vegetables: Instead of biting into whole apples or pears, opt for cutting them into bite-sized pieces. This will help prevent damage to your braces and make chewing easier.

Steamed or Roasted Vegetables: Soft, cooked vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and zucchini are excellent choices for braces-wearers. They provide essential nutrients and won’t cause any problems.

Soft Breads and Pastas: Bread without crusts, soft tortillas, and cooked pasta are safe options for satisfying your carbohydrate cravings.

Dairy Products: Enjoy a variety of dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, for calcium and protein intake. Choose soft cheeses like cream cheese or cottage cheese.

Foods to Avoid with Braces:

Crunch Party Crashers: Hard candies, nuts, popcorn, and ice are like wrecking balls for braces. They can crack brackets, bend wires, and leave you wincing. Pass on these chomping champs.

Sticky Situations: Gum, caramels, and taffy? More like trouble with a capital “T.” They get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your braces, making cleaning a messy mission. Skip these gooey friends for now.

Chewy Challenge: Beef jerky, bagels, and hard pretzels might seem innocent, but they’re like tug-of-war champs for your braces. Chewing them can put unwanted stress on your smile, leading to discomfort and potential damage. Better choose softer options.

Gummy Gangsters: Gummy bears, candies, and other chewy treats are sneaky! They love hiding in the tight spaces of your braces and can be tricky to dislodge. Stick to smooth snacks to avoid the struggle.

Acid Attacks: Be careful with citrus fruits, pickles, and sour candies. Their acidity can weaken your tooth enamel, making it easier for your braces to get damaged. Keep these treats occasional and rinse your mouth well afterwards.


With the right approach to nutrition and oral hygiene, you can ensure a smooth and successful orthodontic journey towards a beautiful, confident smile. Remember to follow your orthodontist’s instructions carefully, maintain good oral hygiene, and use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to protect your teeth and braces. By making informed food choices and practicing proper oral care, you can transform your culinary experiences during orthodontic treatment into a delightful adventure. Embrace the journey, savor the flavors, and enjoy the anticipation of a straighter, healthier smile that awaits you. Schedule your appointment now. 

Dental plaque is a fact of life — everyone gets it.

Dental plaque the sticky film that forms when bacteria in your mouth build up on your teeth. When plaque hangs around for too long, your choppers pay the price.

It eats at them and makes them weak. That leads to decay and gum disease. You can’t evict bacteria from your mouth (some kinds are good for you), but you can nip plaque buildup with these five tips.

The difference between Dental plaque and tartar

When plaque isn’t regularly removed, it can accumulate minerals from your saliva and harden into an off-white or yellow substance called tartar.

Tartar builds up along your gum line on the fronts and backs of your teeth. Although attentive flossing may dislodge some tartar buildup, you’ll probably need to visit a dentist to rid yourself of all of it.

What causes Dental plaque?

Your mouth is a thriving ecosystem. Bacteria and other organisms come in when you eat, drink, and breathe. Most of the time, a delicate balance is maintained in your oral ecosystem, but problems can arise when certain strains of bacteria become overabundant.

When you eat carbs and sugary foods and drinks, bacteria feed on the sugars, producing acids in the process. Those acids can cause problems like cavities, gingivitis, and other forms of tooth decay.

Tooth decay from plaque can even happen under your gums where you can’t see it, eating away at the support for your teeth.

How is plaque diagnosed?

Most of the time, plaque is colorless or pale yellow. A dentist can spot plaque on your teeth using a small mirror during an oral examination

Removing plaque and tartar from teeth

When people eat, bacteria in the mouth breakdown the carbohydrates from food into acid, which mixes with leftover food particles and saliva to create plaque.

Brushing and flossing often prevent plaque and tartar from forming. However, tartar can be more difficult to remove and sometimes requires a visit to the dentist’s office for a professional cleaning.

Poor oral hygiene can also cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease (gingivitis). Recent research has also uncovered possible associations between gum disease and other health conditions, including pneumonia, dementia, and heart disease.

In this article, learn about simple ways to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup at home.

Practicing good oral hygiene

Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to remove plaque and tartar. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. They also recommend flossing once a day.

Flossing first will remove pieces of food and plaque from between the teeth and hard-to-reach areas. After flossing, the toothbrush will remove plaque on the surface of the teeth.

To brush the teeth effectively, a person can:

  1. Start in the back of the mouth with the top molars.
  2. Use short, circular brush strokes.
  3. Brush the front and back surfaces of all the upper teeth.
  4. Repeat steps 1–3 on the bottom teeth.

People can achieve great results using manual toothbrushes. However, a 2014 systematic review found that electric toothbrushes, especially those with oscillating heads, are more effective at removing plaque and reducing gingivitis.

After flossing and brushing the teeth, rinse out the mouth with mouthwash. Many over-the-counter types of mouthwash contain fluoride for extra protection against plaque.

People who have gingivitis may require a stronger type of mouthwash. A dentist or another healthcare provider can prescribe antiseptic mouthwashes that are more potent than those available over the counter.

Brushing with baking soda

Brushing with baking soda is a safe and effective way to remove plaque. Baking soda can remove plaque without damaging the enamel.

Studies suggest that toothpaste that contains baking soda may be more effective at reducing the amount of plaque in the mouth than traditional toothpaste.

Baking soda also protects against demineralization, which is a chemical process that removes calcium from tooth enamel.

Carbohydrates from food can drastically lower the pH level in the mouth, creating an acidic environment that causes demineralization.

Scientists measure the acidity of a substance using the pH scale. The lower the pH, the more acidic the substance.

The lower limit for enamel pH ranges between 5.1 and 5.5. When the pH drops below this range, demineralization begins to occur.

Baking soda reduces demineralization because it has a high pH, which can help balance the pH level inside the mouth and prevent enamel loss.

The mouth is home to a diverse ecosystem of bacteria, some of which are beneficial while others can be harmful. Streptococcus means, for example, is the bacteria primarily responsible for tooth decay.

Oil pulling with coconut oil

Oil pulling is an easy way to remove bacteria from the mouth and improve oral health.

Coconut oil is ideal for oil pulling because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, a fatty acid with antimicrobial properties.

A 2015 study involving 60 adolescents with gingivitis found that oil pulling with coconut oil resulted in a 50 percent decrease in dental plaque.

The study participants also experienced a significant decrease in gingivitis symptoms. The researchers believe this was due to the reduction in dental plaque.

To oil pull, a person should:

  1. Place 1 tablespoon of warm coconut oil in the mouth.
  2. Swish the coconut oil around the mouth for 5–10 minutes.
  3. Spit out the coconut oil into a trash can or a paper towel.

A person should avoid spitting the coconut oil into the sink, as it may clog the pipes.

Other effective oils for oil pulling include:

Prevention of Dental plaque

The best way to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth is by flossing once a day and brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

Regular dental checkups and professional cleanings can also help prevent and treat oral health problems.

Dentists examine the whole mouth, checking for signs of tooth decay and gum disease. They will also remove any plaque or tartar on the surface of the teeth and in difficult-to-reach places. Dentists can also treat the teeth with fluoride to help prevent tooth decay.

If a dentist notices any cavities or signs of gum inflammation, they will recommend ways to reduce symptoms and prevent further damage. They may prescribe medical mouthwash or suggest adjusting a person’s oral hygiene routine.

Dietary changes can also help prevent plaque and tartar buildup. Cutting back on sugar, starch, and acidic foods can reduce the risk of tooth decay.

To reduce the risk of plaque and tartar, a person should avoid:

We recommend that you visit us at Growing Smiles on Richardson and Anna at least twice a year for a regular check-up and professional teeth cleaning.

Regular check-ups and professional teeth cleaning prevent small problems from becoming more complex and difficult to treat. Call us today to begin the dental care regimen that saves you time, money, and stress.


When babies are born, they already have most of their teeth under their gums. The first tooth usually begins to erupt by the age of six months, although the exact age can vary from one baby to another. The first two teeth to come in are usually in the bottom middle, followed by the four in the upper middle. Most children have a complete set of 20 baby teeth by the time they turn 3.

Some children do not get their teeth at the same time as their peers. This can be caused by several factors. If a child does not have any teeth by the age of 18 months, he or she should be taken to a pediatric dentist for an evaluation.

Reasons for Late Teething in Babies

Some children are just late bloomers, but if that isn’t the case, here are a few other reasons for late teething in babies-

1. Hereditary Factors

If delayed teething runs in the family, then it should come as no surprise that your child follows suit as well. Both your side of the family as well as your spouses can be responsible, for a delay in the appearance of your child’s first tooth. Ask your parents or relatives if you or they had the same issue and if yes, then this could be one of the reasons why your child has a delay in teething.

2. Poor Nutrition

If your baby is not getting enough breast milk, or if the baby formula is not good enough to provide all the nutrients that your baby needs, then it will lead to delayed teething. Breast milk contains calcium, and your baby needs this for the growth and development of his teeth and bones. Baby formula usually has nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and D, which helps with growth, repair, immunity, and overall development of your child. Calcium is especially important for strong and healthy teeth. But if the baby formula you use does not have all of these nutrients or if your baby is not consuming enough, then it could cause a delayed teeth eruption in infants.

3. Hypothyroidism and Teething

Hypothyroidism is a condition when the thyroid glands don’t produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormones for the body to function normally. It usually affects the heart rate, metabolism, and body temperature. If your baby has an underactive thyroid, then it is most likely that he has a delay in hitting several milestones like walking, teething, and even talking.

Complications of Late Teething

When to Consult a Doctor

Firstly, check with your parents and relatives to make sure that delayed teething does not run in the family. If it doesn’t, and if your baby is more than 15 months old, then you should consult a doctor. Check for other signs like weight gain (when your baby isn’t eating), delayed overall development, abnormal metabolism, and lethargy. A lot of people consider late teething a sign of intelligence, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Sometimes, children with a high IQ are early bloomers, while at other times, they’re late bloomers.

Your baby’s teeth coming in late can cause you to worry. Observe your child, and look out for any abnormal signs like hoarse crying, constipation, or an abnormal heart rate. Go through your family history and keep a note of relatives who started teething late. If your response to all of this is in the affirmative, then your child is probably showing signs of delayed teething. Consult your doctor if this is the case.


We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. Growing Smiles is a pediatric dentist in AnnaRichardson, Plano, Garland, Murphy we have Pediatric Services in Texas: Early Childhood CarePreventive CareGeneral TreatmentsSedation DentistrySpecial Needs DentistryEmergency Service and Orthodontic (Braces & Invisalign) For more information call us to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.

In many instances, swollen and bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. However, there are a number of other things that could be causing your gum problems. Whatever the cause of sore, painful gums, there are steps you can take to minimize gum damage and discomfort.

What causes swollen gums?


Gingivitis is the most common cause of swollen gums. It’s a gum disease that causes your gums to become irritated and swollen. Many people don’t know they have gingivitis because the symptoms can be quite mild. However, if it’s left untreated, gingivitis can eventually lead to a much more serious condition called periodontitis and possible tooth loss.

Gingivitis is most often the result of poor oral hygiene, which allows plaque to build up on the gum line and teeth. Plaque is a film composed of bacteria and food particles deposited on the teeth over time. If plaque remains on the teeth for more than a few days, it becomes tartar.

Tartar is hardened plaque. You usually can’t remove it with flossing and brushing alone. This is when you need to see a dental professional. Tartar buildup can lead to gingivitis.


Swollen gums can also occur during pregnancy. The rush of hormones your body produces during pregnancy may increase the blood flow in your gums. This increase in blood flow can cause your gums to be more easily irritated, leading to swelling.

These hormonal changes can also hinder your body’s ability to fight off bacteria that typically cause gum infections. This can increase your chance of developing gingivitis.


Being deficient in vitamins, especially vitamins B and C, can cause gum swelling. Vitamin C, for example, plays an important role in the maintenance and repair of your teeth and gums. If your vitamin C levels drop too low, you could develop scurvy. Scurvy can cause anemia and gum disease.

In developed nations, malnutrition is uncommon. When it’s present, it’s most often seen in older adults.


Infections caused by fungi and viruses can potentially cause swollen gums. If you have herpes, it could lead to a condition called acute herpetic gingivostomatitis, which causes swollen gums.

Thrush, which is the result of an overgrowth of naturally occurring yeast in the mouth, can also cause gum swelling. Untreated dental decay can lead to a dental abscess, which is localized gum swelling

Brushing Technique

In the quest to keep teeth clean, you might be tempted to brush teeth as vigorously as you can. Gums are made of delicate tissue, though, so brushing the wrong way could damage them.

Whether you opt for a manual or electric toothbrush, choose one with soft nylon bristles that have blunted ends. Even though you can find brushes with medium or hard bristles, they may damage the enamel on your teeth or cause red and swollen gums.

When you brush, make sure you use gentle, circular motions to massage and clean the teeth and gums. While many people use a back-and-forth motion, this motion can irritate and damage your gums, making them sore and more likely to bleed or recede

Flossing Technique

We all know the importance of flossing every day to help remove plaque from places where your toothbrush can’t reach. To make sure that your healthy habit isn’t causing swollen or bleeding gums, be gentle when you floss. Rather than forcing the floss between your teeth, carefully slide it up and down, following the curve of each tooth.

Home remedies

The following home remedies can help reduce gum inflammation and improve gum health.

Antiseptic mouthwash

Antiseptic mouthwash cannot remove existing plaque and tartar, but it can help control the buildup of additional plaque bacteria.

Mouthwash is available over the counter (OTC) at drugstores and pharmacies. Look for brands containing ingredients with strong antiseptic properties, such as cetylpyridinium chloride.

Sometimes, dentists may prescribe an antiseptic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine, which research suggests is the most effective ingredient.

Saltwater rinse

A 2016 study investigated the effects of a saltwater rinse on gum wound healing.

For this study, researchers removed the gingival fibroblast cells from donors’ teeth. These cells make up the connective tissues of the teeth.

After isolating the damaged cells, the researchers rinsed them in a saltwater solution for 2 minutes, three times per day.

They found that saltwater solutions with a concentration of 1.8% were most effective in improving the rate of wound healing.

People can make an effective saltwater solution by dissolving a level teaspoon of salt in a cup of cooled boiled water. They can rinse with the solution three to four times a day.

Herbal rinse

A 2014 study investigated the antiplaque and antigingivitis effects of an herbal mouth rinse containing tea tree oil, clove, and basil. These ingredients have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

The researchers divided the 40 participants into two groups. One group used a commercially available mouth rinse for 21 days, while the other group used the herbal mouth rinse.

The results of the herbal rinse were comparable to those of the commercial rinse. Participants in both groups showed improvements in various measures of gum health, including reduced plaque and gum inflammation.


Pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce gum pain while a person undergoes treatment for dental abscesses or periodontal disease.

Medical treatment

People can speak to their dentist about the following medical treatments:

Tooth scaling and polishing

Professional tooth cleaning removes tartar from the teeth, which can help reverse gingivitis.

During the cleaning, the dental hygienist uses special instruments to scrape off the tartar. They then smooth and polish the surface of the tooth to help prevent future plaque accumulation.

Root planing

Root planing is a deep cleaning procedure that removes plaque and tartar from the roots of teeth. Dentists may refer to this removal as scaling or debridement.

People who undergo this procedure will often receive a local anesthetic.


Oral antibiotics are usually effective in treating dental abscesses. A person must also undergo dental treatment to address the cause of the abscess.

Sometimes, the infection may already have spread to other parts of the body. In very severe cases, a person may need to stay in the hospital and receive intravenous antibiotics.

Incision and drainage

In some cases, a dentist may need to make an incision in the abscess to remove the infected pus.

After drainage, the dentist will flush the area with saline. Other treatments may also be necessary.

Root canal

A root canal is a dental procedure that involves removing bacteria from the infected tooth roots.

The dentist accesses the tooth roots via the crown, which is the visible part of the tooth. They then clean and fill the roots and crown. Some people may need an artificial crown to protect and restore the tooth.

Tooth extraction

Occasionally, a dentist may need to remove the infected tooth. This procedure will require local anesthesia.


We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. Growing Smiles is a pediatric dentist in AnnaRichardson, Plano, Garland, Murphy we have Pediatric Services in Texas: Early Childhood CarePreventive CareGeneral TreatmentsSedation DentistrySpecial Needs DentistryEmergency Service and Orthodontic (Braces & Invisalign) For more information call us to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.