Drinks to Avoid with Braces


Affordable braces from your friendly orthodontist in the Melbourne area are a long-term commitment. You will be wearing your braces for quite a few months and in order to ensure the best chance for success with the procedure, you will need to responsibly follow the food and drink guidelines for them. Here’s a look at drinks that are acceptable when you have braces, and drinks that you should try to avoid until after your braces come off.

Carbonated Beverages

Soft drinks and any other type of fizzy or carbonated beverages are bad for your teeth even when you don’t have braces. Sodas contain a lot of sugar, and carbonated beverages of all types are acidic. The acids in these types of drinks will attack the enamel on your teeth and can lead to tooth decay or cavities.

When you have any type of braces installed on your teeth, it becomes more difficult to clean them even through regular brushing and flossing. The wires and brackets make it difficult to reach most places and thoroughly clean your teeth. The sugars and acidity in carbonated drinks makes it harder than usual to clean these things off your teeth, putting you at increased risk for cavities and/or tooth decay. It’s best to avoid them entirely until the day that your braces are removed.

Sports Drinks

A lot of people are under the impression that sports drinks are actually healthy for you. That’s certainly the way they’re marketed to us! But the truth is, most sports drinks have sugar as their main ingredient. This makes them especially bad for your teeth when they are hiding behind braces.

The heavy sugar content in sports drinks can weaken the enamel of your teeth. A lot of sports drinks also contain fruit juices, which are high in sucrose. The sucrose is one of the most acidic sugar types that is likely to weaken the structure of your teeth and lead to tooth decay.

Any type of sports drink that has real lemon juice in it should especially be avoided. Lemon is the most acidic of all the fruit juices available. Thus, you should avoid it entirely until after the braces come off.

Coffee and Tea

You have probably already heard that coffee and tea can stain the enamel on your teeth. These types of drinks can also stain your braces! The stains from coffees and teas can cause a process on your teeth called demineralization. When the minerals in your teeth are stripped away, it can rapidly lead to tooth decay. The stains can be improved with whitening products that you buy over-the-counter at a drugstore (after your braces come off), but any tooth decay may need to be addressed. It’s best to avoid coffee and tea entirely while you’re wearing braces.

What about Hot and Cold Drinks?

After your braces are first installed at Valderrama Orthodontics, your teeth may be sensitive to hot (or cold) drinks for the first week or two. This is a normal part of the process. As your teeth adjust to the braces, the sensitivity should go away soon.

It’s best to avoid hot or cold drinks until that adjustment takes place. However, once your teeth adjust, these drinks should be fine.

There is one type of hot drink that you can enjoy while you are being treated with braces: Soup! A nice cup of hot soup can help to fill you up, and it’s much easier to keep your teeth clean after drinking when compared to a sandwich or something else that’s going to stick to your braces.

Contact Valderrama Orthodontics for Braces

If you’re interested in braces or Invisalign for you or your teenager, contact our office to set up an appointment. We specialize in helping patients achieve the perfect smile in Suntree, Viera and Rockledge through our orthodontic practice. We offer engineer braces, bride braces, lingual braces and much more to our clients. And if braces aren’t the best option, we may recommend Invisalign or another treatment option for our patients.

Your Teeth and Sugar

teeth and sugar

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a child or an adult — sugar is bad for your teeth, no matter your age. As your friendly orthodontist, we feel obligated to inform you about a food ingredient that is everyone’s favorite (sugar), because it causes a lot of problems for your teeth. Here are some important things you should know about your teeth and sugar!

Sugar Changes Acidity in Your Mouth

The pH level in your mouth can affect whether you’re going to start developing cavities. In general, low pH is good and high pH means that the acidity inside your mouth is about to start eating through the enamel on your teeth and can cause issues.

Sugar makes all the difference in whether your mouth will have a high pH. When sugars mix with saliva, it drives the pH level up to the point where you will start doing damage to your teeth. Regularly brushing your teeth after every meal is one way to keep the sugars and the acidity in your mouth from getting out of control.

Bad Bacteria Love Sugar

Sugar and saliva mix together to create a toxic base for bad bacteria to grow. In fact, the bad types of bacteria that like to cause gum infections, receding gums, cavities and other problems absolutely love it when you eat lots of sugar and then don’t brush or floss often enough. Eating too much sugar is like putting up a “Home Sweet Home” sign in your mouth for these bacteria!

How Solid Sugars Affect Your Teeth

Plain old solid sugar crystals are one the most widely recognized forms of sugars in our diets. We dissolve it in hot drinks, add it to recipes, and simply use it too much for our teeth to handle. We use it in regular foods and it’s also a main ingredient in some chewing gum and candy.

The problem with solid sugar crystals is that when they dissolve in the mouth, they stick directly to the teeth. The saliva in our mouths simply isn’t strong enough to wash that sticky residue away. Unless we brush after meals or sugary snacks, that residue just sits there, waiting to become a new cavity-causing bacteria colony in the mouth.

How Liquid Sugars Affect Your Teeth

Liquid sugars are more difficult to spot on ingredient lists, because they’re usually not referred to as “sugar.” These include a lot of different ingredients that end in the letters “-ose,” such as sucralose, glucose, or fructose. High fructose corn syrup is one of the most prevalent liquid sugars in the American diet today, because it is used in most processed foods, sodas, and desserts.

The problem with liquid sugars is that consuming them is like using mouthwash that’s completely sugar. It gets into the spaces between the teeth and can cause cavities anywhere and everywhere, unless you diligently brush your teeth after every meal (or avoid liquid sugars in your diet).

Liquid sugars create a sticky film on and between the teeth and gums, which leads to bacteria, which leads to gum disease, cavities, bad breath and more. Teenagers: Would you like to sit at home alone on prom night because of bad breath? We didn’t think so. Avoid those sugary soft drinks, candy, and other sugary snacks to avoid the bad breath and other oral health problems that sugars can lead to!

Why Regular Brushing & Flossing Really Matters

Since sugars on your teeth lead to bacteria, and bacteria lead to plaque, gum disease, and cavities, it’s important that you take charge of your own oral health. Sure, you can always get a filling when you have a cavity — but is that the best use of your time or money?

A better strategy for taking care of your teeth is to simply follow a daily regimen of brushing and flossing. Brush at least twice a day after meals using a fluoride toothpaste — and brush for a full two minutes each time. Make sure you floss once a day to get any food bits or plaque between the teeth.

Contact Valderrama Orthodontics

Another great way to take care of your teeth is to maintain regular checkups with your dentist, and with your orthodontist in the Suntree, Viera, and Rockledge areas. At Valderrama Orthodontics, we specialize in invisible braces, bride braces, Invisalign, Clear Correct and many other orthodontic practices that can help give you that perfect smile! Call us to schedule your next appointment.

Am I a Good Candidate for Invisalign?


If you’re interested in straightening your teeth for that perfect smile, then you have probably heard about clear Invisalign treatment. Invisalign is an extremely popular option offered by Valderrama Orthodontics for straightening teeth without the use of traditional wire braces and brackets. So, who makes the best possible candidate for Invisalign?

Why Invisalign is so Popular

Orthodontic medicine has a lot of options available that can help to straighten a patient’s teeth. Invisalign is able to achieve those same goals, whether the problem involves a minor underbite or overbite, slightly misaligned teeth, or something else.

Invisalign involves wearing clear — nearly invisible — plastic aligners over your teeth for at least 22 hours a day. One of the most attractive things about Invisalign for patients (other than the near invisibility) is that they are removable. You take them off to eat, drink, and brush your teeth. This is unlike metal braces which are attached to the teeth around the clock.

Because they are removable, Invisalign aligners don’t require the dietary changes that come with traditional braces. You remove the aligners, eat whatever you want, brush your teeth, and put them back in!

Who Makes the Best Invisalign Candidate?

Patients in their late teens through the adult years make the best candidates for Invisalign, so long as the orthodontic correction needed does not involve the bone structure of the jaw. Some orthodontic problems, such as a severe overbite or underbite, simply cannot be corrected by Invisalign.

But if the required adjustments to give you that perfect smile are mild to moderate, and do not require realignment of the jaw, you might be the perfect candidate for this popular treatment.

Traditional braces might be a better choice for you if the back teeth need major adjustments, if you have existing bridge work, or if the teeth need to be shifted vertically instead of horizontally. We should also note that younger teens and children usually are not as good candidates for Invisalign. This is because their jaw is still growing. For younger teens, traditional braces are usually the better option.

How Do I Get Invisalign?

The process starts with a consultation with your friendly, affordable orthodontist. We will do a standard exam here at Valderrama Orthodontics, including X-rays, and have a conversation about your smile goals. We’ll talk about the best options for meeting those goals. If it is Invisalign, then it’s off to the races!

Once the aligners are created for you, it will require regular visits to make sure the teeth are shifting properly, and to ensure that you’re receiving new aligners every few months to keep the process moving forward. Total treatment time with Invisalign can take between six months to a year-and-a-half, for most patients. However, you’ll start to see the results within just a few weeks of wearing your aligners!

For the best results, you will need to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day. If you take them out to eat, be sure to give your teeth a thorough brushing afterwards. Do this before putting them back in. The same goes for beverages, other than a glass of plain water.

Once your treatment is complete, there may be one additional step you need to take for an undetermined amount of time. Many patients have to be fitted with a retainer that they must diligently wear at night. Your teeth might want to naturally shift back to their original position, which would be bad news. The retainers help to keep your teeth aligned nice and straight after the Invisalign treatments end. The amount of time that retainers are necessary varies from patient to patient.

Contact Us for an Invisalign Consultation

We would be thrilled to have you as a new Invisalign patient at Valderamma Orthodontics if you’re in the Suntree, Viera or Rockledge area (or even further away if that works for you). The best way to determine whether you are a good candidate for Invisalign is to contact our office and schedule your first consultation.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

foods to avoid

If you’re thinking of getting affordable braces in the Suntree, Viera or Rockledge area, you’re going to get the “food talk” from your orthodontist Dr. Natalia Valderrama at some point. This is actually one of the most common questions we hear about braces from both kids and adults: What can I eat? Here are some of the main guidelines that we will also share with you when you come to Valderrama Orthodontics for braces.

When You First Get Braces

First, the process of getting braces installed on your teeth is not painful. However, it does make the inside of your mouth a bit sensitive as you first adjust to having braces on your teeth. This means that for the first few days, you should avoid certain kinds of foods as your mouth goes through the adjustment period.

You should avoid these foods for the first week or so after your new braces are installed:

  • Spicy foods
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, etc.)
  • Thick cuts of meat (thin slices should be okay)
  • Breads or rolls

Okay, so if that’s the list you should avoid in the first days after getting braces, what can you eat? The good news is that you won’t starve! There are actually many types of food that you can eat — you just have to ensure that they are soft and easy to chew. Here’s a partial list of foods you can eat during the adjustment period:

  • Noodles or other soft pastas
  • Mashed potatoes (and gravy!)
  • Soups
  • Veggies that are soft or cooked
  • Soft, non-citrus fruits like sliced peaches or plums
  • Fish
  • Ice cream and smoothies
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Soft cheeses
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt

Plus, desserts are fine too — so long as they are soft and moist (nothing crunchy or hard to chew). Also, desserts should not be too sugary, which we’ll discuss more below.

After the first week or so passes and the inside of your mouth no longer feels sensitive, you can resume most of your regular diet.

Foods & Snacks to Avoid at All Costs

Now we’ve arrived at the more difficult part of the dreaded “food talk” for many people. There are certain foods that you will need to avoid during the entire process with braces. Eating these foods can damage your teeth (because it’s harder to brush them with braces). They can also damage the wires or bands on your braces in a worst-case scenario, which we want to avoid.

Stay away from these foods if you want to have the most successful outcome with your braces:

  • Crunchy snacks: Pretzels, crackers, potato chips, popcorn, nuts
  • Crunchy vegetables and/or fruits (such as apples or pears)
  • Candy: Nothing gooey and chewy, nothing hard and crunchy
  • Pizza crust: Just scrape off the toppings and eat them with a fork like your ancestors did before crust was invented
  • No chewing on ice cubes: Drink through a straw and keep the ice out of your mouth
  • Gum: No chewing gum. No bubblegum. Period!

That covers most of the bases. One more thing about sugary foods and drinks, however. You should plan to limit your intake of any foods that are high in processed sugars. Sugar mixes with saliva and forms plaque on your teeth, which in turn can lead to cavities. It is also very challenging to brush plaque off your teeth now, because the braces have created a lot of hard-to-reach spaces that you can’t get to with your toothbrush.

So, for the duration of your time with braces on your teeth, try to limit things like soft drinks and cupcakes. It’s okay to have them occasionally, but probably not as often as you are used to.

Oh, No! My Braces Got Messed Up!

Sometimes accidents happen with the diet, and a patient can end up with a wire or a band loose on their braces. We get it. Temptations are difficult to resist. Maybe you tripped and fell down with your mouth open, and that piece of salt water taffy just fell in your mouth and damaged your braces. (We don’t judge here at Valderrama Orthodontics.)

If something goes wrong with your braces due to an unfortunate candy mishap, it’s not the end of the world. But you SHOULD call our office immediately to get your braces repaired. Don’t try to pull on the wires or bands yourself, because you could make the problem worse.

If you have any questions about your braces or need them repaired, contact us here or call our office at 321.425.5050 for an appointment in one of our  convenient locations. We are now located in Suntree, Viera, and Rockledge. 

The Importance of Wearing Your Retainer


Once Dr. Natalia Valderrama, your orthodontist, removes your braces, your new best friends are going to be your retainers. The retainer is what will hold your teeth in their new positions for the long-term. Thus, it’s vitally important that you become accustomed to wearing it. Here’s a look at why it’s so important to wear your retainers after braces.

What’s a Retainer?

It does not matter whether you are wearing clear aligners,  lingual braces, bride braces, engineer braces, invisible braces for adults, or traditional metal-and-wire affordable braces. Once those braces come off at the “end” of the braces treatment phase, you will be given a retainer that you will be wearing for a long time.

We will fit you with a customized retainer that has been molded and designed to perfectly fit your teeth. The retainer is an orthodontic appliance that is crafted in a lab after we digitally scan your “bite” here at Valderrama Orthodontics. We do not take gooey molds of your bite anymore! So there is not gagging at this appointment. Also, since we will have the digital print of your perfect teeth, you can call our office for many years to come and order your retainers by phone or online and  we will ship them to you wherever you are in the world. No need for an office visit.

Why It’s So Important to Wear Your Retainer

You’ve likely worn your braces from one to two years, your teeth have shifted, and now you have that perfect smile you’ve always wanted! You’re all done, right? Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it works.

Once a patient’s braces come off, the teeth are going to want to naturally “drift” back to their original locations. If you want to keep that perfect smile and don’t want to let all that hard work of going through braces go to waste, you MUST wear your retainers as directed by Dr. Natalia Valderrama, your orthodontist. If you don’t wear your retainer as often as directed, your teeth can shift out of place very quickly.

How Often to Wear Your Retainer

Most patients are asked to wear their retainer as frequently as possible for the 30 days after the braces are removed.

After the first month or so, you will be able to take the retainer out during the day. However, you will be instructed to continue wearing it every night. You can expect that standard for the next one to three years. Approximately three years after your braces come off, you will likely be able to taper that off to five nights per week.

To truly ensure that the work done by your braces is “permanent,” you will be wearing a retainer indefinitely. It takes a long-term commitment from the patient if they want to keep their teeth (and smile) perfectly straight for years to come.

It’s also really important for us to mention this: If you go away for a weekend vacation — and you forget to take your retainer with you — it’s not the end of the world! A couple of days without wearing it is not going to cause your teeth to shift dramatically. Just don’t make it a habit! It can be a slippery slope if you constantly forget to wear the retainer for a few days. Wear the retainer 24 hours a day for a week and you will repair the damaged done.

Taking Care of Your Retainer

Both the wire and the plastic in your retainer are a bit delicate, so it’s important to take good care of them. If your retainer becomes misshapen, it may have to be replaced with a new one. Follow all of your orthodontist’s instructions when it comes to caring for your specific type.

Hot water, for example, can cause the plastic in a retainer to start to warp. It doesn’t take very much of a shift in the shape of a retainer to cause it to not fit properly. In fact, the changes in its shape might be imperceptible if you put the retainer in hot water. The only way you’ll know the shape has warped is when the retainer suddenly doesn’t fit correctly.

The metal parts of the retainer can also become misshapen. Accidents like dropping it, or from something as simple as accidentally setting a book on top of it might deform it. If it suddenly does not fit properly, come see us as soon as possible. We can find out if it can be repaired or if you need to order a new one!

Contact Us in Rockledge, Melbourne, or Viera

If you’re thinking about braces to straighten your teeth and give you that perfect smile, it’s never too late! Contact us today to schedule your appointment in one of our three convenient locations. We are now located in Rockledge, Suntree, Melbourne, and soon in Viera.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!