Caring for Braces
While the results braces deliver are incredible, caring for them is less so. No, it isn’t all that difficult, but it does require some work and adjustments on your part. To help, check out our guide below.
Eating with Braces
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 foods that are soft, 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 foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky or tough.
There are a few tricks around some problem foods. 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.
Foods to Avoid
- Sticky – gum, caramel, tootsie rolls, peanut butter, toffee
- Hard – apples, carrots and other raw vegetables
- Crunchy – popcorn, chips
- Tough – bagels, corn on the cob, sandwiches, steak, ribs
Your mouth is going to 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 problem areas.
Loose Wire, Bracket, or Band
It is possible for a bracket or wire to come loose. 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 evaluated. If you are not in any pain or discomfort, often times, we can wait until your next appointment to address the issue. Please call ahead to let us know something is loose so that we can be prepared for you and minimize your time spent at your next visit.
Care of Your Teeth and Braces
It is always important to brush and floss your teeth to keep them clean and healthy – with braces, it’s more important than ever. Consistent brushing and flossing will ensure that your gums and teeth remain healthy throughout your treatment.
We highly recommend an electric toothbrush. These vary in price but they can often be found at an affordable price at your local drug store. If you do not want to use an electric toothbrush, do not sweat it! Here are the important points to keep in mind. 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 the teeth all the way in the back and behind your back molars. It’s a 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.
Flossing at least once a day is very important for good dental hygiene and to keep 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.