You took the plunge and now have braces, but what will life with braces be like? So, 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.
Eating with Braces
It’s not a permanent situation, you’ll enjoy all the foods you enjoyed prior to braces! Before you can start enjoying certain foods, it is important to take special care to avoid any foods that could potentially damage and harm your new braces.
Below outlines several types of foods that you should avoid eating while under orthodontic treatment and other foods that are just fine to eat. This is not a complete list, but will give you a good idea of what to avoid.
Avoid These Foods With Braces:
- Chewy foods — bagels, toffee, licorice
- Crunchy foods — pretzels, popcorn, chips, hard taco shells
- Sticky foods — caramel, chewing gum, taffy
- Hard foods — nuts, hard candies, ice, beef jerky
- Foods Requiring Biting Into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots. You can still eat these foods, just be sure to cut them into pieces first!
Foods You Can Eat With Your Braces:
- Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without 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 without nuts, milkshakes, soft cake
Soreness Caused from Braces
When you get your braces on, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is normal and won’t last forever. Typically, soreness goes away within two to five days. Some helpful tips to relieve pain from Dr. Lacey:
- Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Swish and gargle but do not swallow the saltwater.
- Wax to apply over braces if one spot feels particularly rough to your tongue or cheek. Be sure to remove the wax before brushing!
- Pain Relievers such as Tylenol or Aspirin may be taken to help with minor discomfort in the first few days.
Brushing and Flossing
Now that you have braces, it is extremely important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible during treatment. Dr. Lacey can help select the proper toothbrush, floss and toothpaste to fit with your appliance.
There is an art to brushing, but consistency is the key. Brush for 2 minutes after every meal. The best toothbrush is a soft-bristled, small headed toothbrush. It’s important to use a toothpaste that has fluoride in it. Brush all surfaces of your teeth with a small, circular motion. Tilt the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Pay close attention to the areas surrounding the brackets or appliance.
Flossing with Braces
Dr. Lacey believes in good oral health, and flossing should be incorporated into your daily routine. Floss after every meal! Start with a dental floss threader to get around the brackets or appliance. Gently slide the floss back and forth between each tooth and below the gum line. Make sure to also floss around the appliance to remove any stubborn food particles. Dr. Lacey and staff will help evaluate your brushing at your appointments. If you have any problems with brushing or flossing, be sure to ask at your next appointment.
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose this is normal, never fear! Your braces are moving the teeth into the correct position, thus they may feel a little loose. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.
Loose Wires and Bands
The wires and bands on your braces may become loose for an array of reasons. If this happens, please contact Dr. Lacey and staff as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. Be sure to keep the appliance that has fallen off and bring it to the office with you.
You may “temporarily” fix the loose wire or band by using a hard-flat surface or pencil eraser to gently and most importantly, carefully, push the wire in question back into place. You can apply a piece of wax provided by Dr. Lacey and her staff to relieve pain from a broken or loose wire.
Did you know that damaged brackets can increase the length of your treatment process? It is important to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
Braces While Playing Sports
Great news for all the athletes out there! You can still participate in sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! It’s recommended that you wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth and your appliance. If you need help finding the right mouth guard, Dr. Lacey can tell you what the best option will be for your situation.
Be sure to immediately check your mouth or appliance if you have a sports emergency. If you notice any loose teeth or damage to the appliance, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm water with salt.