Good oral hygiene is essential to achieving a good orthodontic result. Food collects easily around the brackets and wires of your braces, so brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day is important.
Brushing helps to decrease the chance that your teeth enamel will decalcify and permanently mark your teeth. It also keeps your gums in a healthy state.
Our orthodontic patients are given a care package with all the necessary tools and a power toothbrush. We also show you the proper techniques to ensure good oral hygiene. Let us know if you ever have a question or need a quick refresher. We will be monitoring your hygiene at your ortho appointments to help you maintain a healthy smile.
Insert the floss behind the wire by using the floss threader or superfloss. Gently clean the sides of your teeth and under your gums with a gentle up and down motion. Remember to floss at least once a day!
Brush after meals to ensure no food is trapped inside the braces. Brush under, above, behind and all around the braces and teeth. Brush inside and outside, top and bottom. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing and throughout the day, especially if you are unable to brush after a meal. We recommend using your power toothbrush at home and taking your manual toothbrush with you throughout the day, when you are not at home.
The movement of teeth can result in soreness. We recommend taking ibuprofen (Advil) for the first two or three days after braces or an adjustment. You may also prefer to take some prior to your appointment to get ahead of any discomfort.
Everyone has different pain levels, so some patients may be more sensitive than others. Please tell us if you need help on pain management.
It is possible for mouth sores to develop as your cheeks adjust to the braces. Your care package also contains wax that can relieve the soreness by covering the bracket. You should remember to remove the wax before eating and replace it after eating, if necessary. Rinsing with warm salt water can also help sores to heal quickly (1 tsp. salt dissolved in a glass of warm water).
Eating with braces is different! If your teeth are sore, start with softer foods such as yogurt, pudding, rice, mashed potatoes, applesauce, bananas, spaghetti, eggs, soup, softer meats and cooked vegetables.
Even when your teeth are not sore, it is important to avoid hard foods. Biting into hard foods can loosen or break brackets. It is also important to avoid sticky foods that can pull off brackets or sugary foods that can cause decay.
We have listed some common examples to avoid:
- Hard foods** to avoid. Apples, carrots, corn on the cob, nuts, popcorn, hard candies, pizza crusts, ice, chips, hard pretzels and hard cookies.
- Sugary/sticky foods to avoid. Gum, caramels, toffee, licorice, gummy bears, caramel apples, tootsie rolls, and dried fruits. Also avoid soda pop and sugary drinks.
We also advise not chewing on fingernails, pens, pencils, or opening bottle caps to avoid damaging your braces.
**Please note that most hard foods CAN be eaten as long as they have been cut up into small pieces and chewed on the back molar teeth. Remember never to bite into hard foods with your front teeth.
Sports And Other Activities
If mouthguards are required for sports, custom fit (lab processed) appliances are not suitable. The store purchased, boil yourself type are more appropriate and can be reshaped periodically as treatment progresses. Once your treatment is completed, we can make a custom mouthguard for you.
Click here to learn more about our sports mouthguards.
Remember to continue with your regular dental cleanings and checkups throughout your treatment.