We promise, caring for your braces won’t be a full-time job. You probably won’t even notice you’re wearing them most of the time. With a few tweaks to your daily routine and a supply of dental wax, you’ll breeze right through treatment.
Brushing & Flossing
When you’re rocking braces, it requires a little extra effort to keep your teeth clean. You’ll want to stay at the top of your oral hygiene game to ensure that when your braces come off, your new smile is healthy. To keep tooth decay, gum disease and stains at bay, floss once a day, brush in the morning, at bedtime and after every meal, use a cavity-fighting mouthwash and continue with regular visits to your dentist.
Brushing While Wearing Braces
To brush with braces, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and go to town for at least two minutes. Use small, circular motions to brush along the gum line. Be sure to address all of the surfaces of the teeth and angle the toothbrush to get between the brackets and wires. Finish off by brushing the roof of your mouth and your tongue. If you’re out and about and don’t have your toothbrush on hand, rinse really well with water after eating and then brush as soon as you get home.
The brackets will do a number on your toothbrush so you may need to replace it more frequently than every three months, which is the standard recommendation. Whenever you notice signs of fraying or wear, treat yourself to a new one.
Flossing While Wearing Braces
Your toothbrush can’t reach every nook and cranny, which is why flossing daily, preferably at night, is essential for banishing plaque and food debris. Thread waxed dental floss through a floss threader. Then, pass the floss under the wire and in between a set of teeth. Slide it up and down on each side of the tooth up to the gum line. Continue on, getting between each pair of teeth and behind your back molars.
Eat with Braces:
There are a few food restrictions with braces. Just keep in mind that it will seem worth it when you see your results. Your teeth might be sensitive for a few days when you first get your braces put on and after adjustments. Stick to soft foods like mashed potatoes, soup and yogurt and try cold treats and beverages such as smoothies and ice water to alleviate any discomfort.
Make things really easy to eat by cutting everything into small pieces, especially hard items including apples, raw carrots and bagels. Don’t rip at food with your front teeth. Instead, chew with your back teeth. Sticky, chewy and hard foods can get caught in your braces or cause damage so it’s best to forgo them until you’re finished treatment. Here are some foods to avoid or at least use extreme care with:
- Tootsie Rolls
- Ice (you can put it in drinks but don’t chew on it)
- Hard taco shells
- Hard rolls, bagels and pizza crust
- Whole raw apples or carrots
- Corn on the cob (you can enjoy it off the cob though)
Since sugar leads to cavities, have desserts and sweetened drinks like soda and sports drinks in moderation and always brush really well after indulging.
Comfort Care Tips:
In most cases, you’ll experience minimal discomfort with braces but every so often a minor mishap might crop up. Give us a call and we’ll schedule you for an appointment as soon as possible to remedy the problem, if necessary. Fortunately, most issues can be temporarily handled at home. Here are a few tricks to keep in mind:
Hey, a lost separator happens on occasion and is more common than you’d think. There isn’t much you can do. Contact us and we’ll let you know if we need to replace it.
While you’re getting used to your braces, occasionally your lips and cheeks can get a little irritated. Try swishing with salt water and cover any offending brackets and wires with dental wax. If it doesn’t get better, be sure to let us know and we’ll be happy to help.
If a wire pokes out and causes discomfort, you can try to move it away from your cheek with a pencil eraser or a cotton swab. Dry the hardware with a piece of cotton or a tissue and stick a bit dental wax on it to act as a barrier. If a really long piece of wire in the back is poking into your cheek because of a loose bracket, you can very carefully snip the wire with nail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Call us and we’ll get you in for a visit.
As we mentioned before, sometimes your teeth might be slightly sore for a few days when your braces get put on and after you visit us for an adjustment. You can take over-the-counter non-aspirin pain relievers as needed. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package. Gargling with salt water can also be helpful. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of water, swish the mixture around for a bit and then spit it out.
Contact us so we can let you know if the bracket needs to be refitted. In the meantime, if the bracket is in the back, you can remove it from the wire and again use sterilized nail clippers to cut off any excess wire. If the bracket is in the front or middle of your mouth, dry it off with a piece of cotton and cover it with dental wax to avoid irritation.