Now your braces are on, it’s important to look after them so you can achieve your beautiful new smile in the shortest possible time. Braces can also take a bit of getting used to! Here’s our guide to caring for your new braces.
Managing discomfort or pain
While you get used to your new braces, you may experience some discomfort or pain as the braces rub against the inside of your mouth and put pressure on your teeth. Here are some things you can do to feel more comfortable.
Apply dental wax to cover the parts of your braces that are rubbing and irritating your cheeks and gums. Dry the area first, then place a small pea-sized blob of wax over it. The wax works like a band-aid to protect the sore area, so it can heal.
Brace relief gel
Apply a tiny amount of brace relief gel to an ulcer or irritation in your mouth. The gel numbs the area, so you feel more comfortable until we next see you.
Warm salt mouth rinses
Add one teaspoon of salt to half a cup of warm water and swish it around your teeth, taking care not to swallow. This helps to strengthen the soft tissues inside your mouth, and acts as an antiseptic for any ulcers or irritations inside the mouth.
Pain relief medicine
If you feel the need for pain relief, we suggest taking paracetamol. Make sure you follow the instructions on the box to take the right dose; and don’t take it for longer than three days at a time.
Eating and drinking
Eating the wrong foods cause you some discomfort and put you at risk of breaking your brackets or wires. Most foods can be eaten carefully, though some should be avoided completely to prevent breakages and decay. Foods that can get stuck in your braces or are high in sugar will create an environment that encourages plaque and bacteria to thrive. This can cause lasting damage to your teeth.
When eating, it can help to cut your food into smaller pieces, put smaller amounts in your mouth and chew on your back molar teeth.
Foods to avoid
- Hard foods including crackers, nuts, lollies, crunchy chocolate bars, muesli bars, pork crackling, and corn chips.
- Sticky and sugary foods including chocolate bars, lollipops, chewy lollies, roll-ups, toffees and chewable mints.
- Soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks (diet versions are acceptable in moderation, as are fruit juices, milkshakes and Milo).
Take care when eating
- Crunchy or crispy foods including pizza crusts, raw vegetables like carrots, corn on the cob (it’s best to cut the corn off the cob).
- Fruits like apples, pears and stone fruits.
- Meat on the bone, crispy bacon.
- Potato chips and popcorn.
Enjoy these foods
- Softer foods and snacks such as bananas, seedless grapes, oranges, berries, yoghurts, smoothies, cheesy rolls and soft sandwiches.
Keeping your braces clean
You will need to clean your teeth and your braces two to three times a day to remove plaque. Excess plaque can cause the gums to swell, and lead bad breath, cavities and even stained and dirty-looking teeth. Here’s how to clean your teeth and braces properly.
- Rinse your mouth to get rid of any loose debris.
- Use your InterDental brush (shaped like a Christmas tree) to brush either side of each bracket. This should remove most of the plaque.
- Now use your normal toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste and make sure you brush the gum line, above and below the wire and the biting surfaces of the teeth.
- Spend two minutes on your top teeth and two minutes on your lower teeth.
Remember plaque is the enemy of your beautiful teeth!
Some habits can put you at more risk of damaging or breaking your braces (or your teeth). These include nail biting, chewing on pens or pencils, and opening drink bottles with your teeth! These are a definite no-no with your new braces.
To protect your braces, you should use a mouthguard to cover your braces when playing contact sports such as AFL, rugby, hockey, basketball, soccer and netball. At Smileworx, we can customise a mouthguard to protect and support your braces.
Repairing your braces
Sometimes a part of your brace can come loose or break. If an arch wire comes out of its slot it may irritate the gums and cheeks. A broken bracket will delay the necessary movement of a tooth. In both cases, you need to make an appointment for repairs as quickly as possible. Making sure you eat the right kinds of foods can help to prevent breakages.
Looking after your braces may require a little extra effort, but it isn’t complicated, and it’s so worth it when you remember the end result is a beautiful smile! Remember to continue seeing your dentist for check-ups every six months while you’re receiving orthodontic treatment.