Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It's important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.
Taking Care of Your Braces
- Brush after every meal using a fluoride toothpaste to clean away food from the braces.
- Floss once-a-day using the floss threader and floss, to clean behind the wire and between the teeth.
- Use a fluoride rinse such as Phos-Flur or Act every night to strengthen your teeth against decay and gingivitis
What to Eat
Excessive pressure on your braces during eating will cause them to come loose. The strength of the glue to hold the braces in places is carefully designed to allow us to remove them appropriately when youre teeth are straight.
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Chewy foods - bagels, licorice
- Crunchy foods - popcorn, chips, ice, pizza crust or hard bread, pretzels, carrots
- Sticky foods - caramel candies, chewing gum, caramel, taffy, jelly beens, toffee, etc.
- Hard foods - nuts, hard candies
- Foods that require biting into - corn on the cob, apples, carrots
- Sugary foods - soft drinks, candy, cookies, pies, cakes
- Do NOT chew on pens, pencils, finger nails or ice cubes
Foods you CAN eat with braces:
- Softer foods are better - soups, pastas, stews, chicken, meatloaf, etc.
- Bite size is better - cut your food into small bite-size pieces to avoid wear on your braces when chewing
- Dairy - soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Breads - soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins w/o nuts
- Grains - pasta, soft-cooked rice
- Meats/poultry - soft-cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood - tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables - mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
- Fruits - applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
- Treats - ice cream w/o nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
Soreness caused from braces and appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal for patients who have just gotten their braces put on, and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the salt water).
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know!
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.
Loose Wires and Bands
The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.
You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.
Take Care of your Appliances
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
While you're in treatment, we will rate your oral hygiene based on the following scale:
- 5 / Excellent
- Healthy gums
- Minimal Plaque
- 4 / Good
- Localized mild inflammation of gums
- Swelling of gums as a result of tooth movement
- 3 / Average
- Generalized mild inflammation of gums
- Swelling of gums
- 2 / Needs Improvement
- Early signs of decalcification
- Inflammation of gums
- Loose plaque
- 1 / Poor
- White spots (decalcification)
- Tooth decay
- Bleeding gums
- Chronic inflammation
- Plaque build-up
Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
When you have braces it's very important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment. If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and your appliance.
Please read through the short clips below for proper brushing and flossing instructions.
Brushing: Step 1
Using a dry brush with a small amount of toothpaste place bristles where gums and teeth meet.
Brushing: Step 2
For 10 seconds on each tooth use circular, vibrating motions around the gum lines.
Brushing: Step 3
Every tooth of both arches should be brushed slowly.
Brushing: Step 4
Brush the lower teeth from the gum line up and the upper teeth from the gum line down. Brush the roof of your mouth and your tongue too!
Flossing: Step 1
Carefully thread unwaxed floss between braces and wire. You may find a floss threader helpful.
Flossing: Step 2
Carefully floss around the braces.
Flossing: Step 3
Carefully floss around the gum areas.
Flossing: Step 4
Carefully floss around each tooth.
Playing Sports with Braces
Game, Set, Match - we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it's recommended that you wear a mouthguard in order to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.
In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and your appliance for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth, or if your appliance has been damaged, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water.