1- Smile. Even though you now have braces on your teeth, that shouldn’t hold you back from smiling with your mouth open. People will probably notice your mouth more if it looks like you’re hiding something. Also, it can be a great conversation starter. Many people have braces today, and it’s not something to be ashamed of.
2- For the first few days (and after you get your braces tightened), eat soft foods. Some examples of soft foods include scrambled eggs, oatmeal, pasta, smoothies, and soups. You also want to cut your food into small pieces.
3- You will likely feel some pain and discomfort the first week, but you can take action to find relief. A warm washcloth or a heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws. You can also take non-aspirin pain relievers. You may also want to put wax on the braces to lessen the discomfort, especially the first one to two weeks. Another thing you can do is to gargle with saline. To do this, take a glass of lukewarm water and add a teaspoon of salt. Swish and gargle with this solution for a few minutes to get rid of the pain. Then, spit out the salt water.
4- Avoid certain foods. Common sense will direct you in deciding what you foods you shouldn’t eat. You don’t want pieces of food getting stuck to your braces, so you should avoid hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar. Sugary foods can cause decay and other oral problems. You should have the following beverages no more than once per day: soda, sweetened tea, Gatorade, Kool-Aid, and any other drinks with sugar. You also want to avoid foods you have to bite into, such as apples, corn on the cob, and chicken wings.
5- Don’t chew on foreign objects. This means pencils, pens, and your fingernails. Why? Because chewing on hard objects can damage or break your brace and lead to costly repairs and make your treatment take longer.
6- Don’t smoke. Tobacco use of any kind will stain your teeth.
7- Clean your braces after every meal and snack. To protect your teeth, you should wait at least one hour after eating to brush your teeth. And to help you even more, see our article about brushing your teeth with braces.
8- Floss every day. Floss every night before you go to bed. Using a floss threader will make this process easier with braces. It will allow you to get under the wires more easily.
9- Use an interdental toothbrush to clean your teeth and braces. We recommend Proxabrush to our patients with braces. This is an interdental toothbrush, which means it clean between the teeth. You can use it to clean underneath and around your wires and braces. But you want to make sure you are using it gently to avoid damaging your wires. This way you’ll be able to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
10- Use a mouthwash or rinse. We recommend Peroxyl, a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse, to our patients. It will reduce inflammation in your gums and cheeks and help your mouth heal. It also helps to prevent infection and decreases any irritation, like canker sores, cheek bites, and other minor temporary injuries. Here’s how it works: Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of Peroxyl (half a capful) for one minute and then spit it out. You may use Peroxyl up to four times daily after brushing.
11- Use fluoride on your teeth daily. We recommend Phos-Flur, a sodium fluoride gel, to our patients. This gel helps prevent tooth decay by killing bacteria and replacing minerals in tooth enamel. You should use the gel after brushing and flossing at bedtime. Here’s how it works: Place a small strip of Phos-Flur on a toothbrush and apply it to your teeth for one minute and then spit it out. After this, you should not drink or eat anything for 30 minutes because the active ingredient needs to stay on your teeth to work.
12- If you have a removable appliance, clean it every day. You want to brush your appliance as part of your regular brushing and flossing routine. You should soak the appliance once daily because food particles and plaque can accumulate like they do on the teeth. Here’s how you do that: Dissolve a Polident, Efferdent, or other denture-cleaning tablet in a glass of water at room temperature and put your appliance in the glass.
13- Avoid whitening products while you are wearing braces. Your teeth will be whitened, but when the braces are removed, you will have spots on your teeth where the braces used to be. We know you don’t want that.
14- Make a cleaning kit and carry it with you. You won’t always be home when you need to clean your teeth and braces. Making a kit with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, wax, and lip balm is a great idea.
15- Check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets regularly. If you do notice a loose or broken wire or bracket, you should call our office immediately to setup an appointment for repair. If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, you can use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. In some cases, you can move the wire with a cotton swab or an eraser. You can also try covering it with a small piece of wax.
16- If your teeth begin to feel a little loose, this is normal. Your braces must loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Then, when your teeth have been repositioned, they won’t be loose.
17- If you have ceramic braces, avoid foods with tomatoes and tomato paste, mustard, and coffee and dark-colored drinks. The red, yellow, or dark colors will stain your ceramic braces, and you don’t want that.
18- If you play sports in your braces, wear a mouthguard. Yes, you can play sports, but you should wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your braces.
19- Make sure you go to your follow-up appointments. When you wear braces, frequent follow-up appointments are needed to adjust your braces. Skipping appointments will only make your treatment take longer.
20- Remember: You won’t have braces for the rest of your life. In about 12 to 24 months, you will get your braces taken off. And if you’ve taken good care of them and your mouth, you will finally get to see your new look.
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get appointment today.