Wearing braces is a big commitment that requires patience and dedication. While the end result is worth it, taking care of your braces on a daily basis can be challenging.
Proper care and maintenance are essential if you want the process to go smoothly, with fewer visits to the orthodontist and a speedier journey to a beautiful smile.
Let’s discuss the daily routine of living with braces, including important tips for brushing and flossing, foods to avoid, and how to maintain your braces.
You’ll find helpful advice for keeping your braces clean, keeping your mouth healthy, and keeping your mind positive throughout the process.
So, whether you’re a new or seasoned wearer of braces, read on for helpful information and guidance on maintaining your braces and achieving that beautiful smile you’ve been dreaming of!
It’s not going to be easy at first, and in the beginning foods you can eat will be limited. You’ll want to stick to soft foods, fluffy, and easily mashed up. Pancakes, oatmeal, bananas, soups, cooked vegetables, applesauce, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and soft ice cream – just to suggest a few. Stay away from crunchy foods, sticky foods, or chewy foods.
Food to Avoid
- Sticky Foods – caramel, tootsie rolls, toffee, chewing gum
- Hard Foods – hard candy, nuts, raw carrots
- Crunchy Foods – popcorn, chips
- Chewy Foods – bagels, corn on the cob, sandwiches, steak, ribs
There are a few tricks around some problematic foods when eating with braces. You can cook your vegetables to make them softer, cut your corn off the cob, and slice apples and sandwiches into small, bite-sized pieces. If you’re in doubt about a particular food, ask the doctor.
Your mouth will feel sensitive and a bit sore when you first get your braces put on. To help alleviate the soreness, you can rinse your mouth with a salt-water solution or take an over-the-counter analgesic. If your braces are rubbing or poking your mouth, you can use dental wax (available at the office or your local drugstore) to cover the problem areas and prevent blisters.
Loosening of Teeth
Part of the process of creating your new, beautiful smile is moving your teeth; to move them, they need to loosen up first. “Loose teeth” are a natural part of the process. Once your teeth are in the right place, they will settle into their new position.
Caring for Braces
Loose Wire, Bracket, or Band
Inevitably, something is going to come loose. A bracket will loosen or a wire may pop out of place. Don’t worry!
If it’s a flexible wire, you might be able to push it back into place using tweezers. If you can’t move it with tweezers, you can use a pencil eraser or the back of a pen to push the offending wire down. Dental wax will also be your friend, place a small amount on the spot to cover the problem area. Next, schedule an appointment to have the wire, bracket, or band repaired.
Using a soft-bristled toothbrush begin by brushing the outside of your teeth and braces holding the brush tilted at a 45-degree angle. Brush along the top and bottom of the braces using light to moderate pressure, making sure you cover every surface very carefully. Don’t forget to brush your teeth all the way in the back and behind your back molars. It’s good practice to brush for three minutes at least twice a day. Using a timer or singing along to a song will help you keep track of your time.
Our office recommends utilizing a Sonicare or Oral B electric toothbrush due to its ability to remove plaque more efficiently than the standard manual toothbrush.
Flossing at least once a day is very important for good dental hygiene and keeping your teeth healthy. Flossing with braces may seem difficult at first. To floss properly, you will need to thread the floss under the archwire.
This can be done in two ways – either by threading the floss through on your own or using a floss threader to thread the floss under the wire. When threading the floss, it is a good practice to start by pushing the floss vertically from the top to the bottom on your upper teeth and from the bottom to the top on your bottom teeth, always threading away from your gums.
Once threaded, carefully floss around each tooth and gum, moving the floss up and down, just like you did without braces. Our office recommends utilizing the WaterPik water flosser which will replace the need for standard floss while in braces