Unfortunately, your braces can’t do all the work for you. Orthodontic daily care instructions are provided by Dr. Jeff Holt from Kids Dental. The wearer has to be a willing participant. Patient cooperation can determine the length of treatment and even the outcome. The more you comply with your orthodontist’s instructions, the better. Use the guidelines below for daily care and call our office with any questions. Also see our detailed guide for how to take care of your braces.
How do I care for my braces?
A: You will be shown the proper care of your braces when your orthodontic treatment begins. Proper cleansing of your mouth is necessary every time you eat. Teeth with braces are harder to clean, and trap food very easily. If food is left lodged on the brackets and wires, it can cause unsightly and permanent etching (chalky spots) of the enamel on your teeth. Your most important job is to keep your mouth clean. If food is allowed to collect, the symptoms of inflammation will show in your mouth and pressure from swelling or bleeding will slow down tooth movement.
How do I brush with braces?
A: You should brush your teeth 4-5 times per day with an ultrasonic toothbrush during all phases of orthodontic treatment.
- Brush back and forth across and between the wires and gums on the upper and lower teeth to loosen any food particles.
- Next, brush correctly as if you had no brackets or appliances on.
- Start on the outside of the uppers with the bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gum and scrub with a circular motion, two or three teeth at a time using ten strokes, then move on.
- Next, do the same on the inner surface of the upper teeth.
- Look in a mirror to see if you have missed any places. Your teeth, brackets and wires should be free of any food particles and plaque.
Note: If your gums bleed when brushing; do not avoid brushing, but rather continue stimulating the area with the bristles. Be sure to angle your toothbrush so that the area under your gum line is cleaned. After 3 or 4 days of proper brushing, the bleeding should stop and your gums should be healthy again.
How do I floss with braces?
A: Use a special floss threader to floss with your braces on. Be sure to floss at least once per day.
Should I use flouride or gel?
A: We recommend fluoride varnish treatments every 3 months during all phases of orthodontic treatments to reduce tooth decay and the formation of hypo-calcified areas (white spots). Daily home fluoride rinses and gels may also be prescribed to protect teeth during orthodontic care.
How do I care for my appliances?
A: Clean the retainer by brushing with toothpaste. If you are wearing a lower fixed retainer, be extra careful to brush the wire and the inside of the lower teeth. Always bring your retainer to each appointment. Avoid flipping the retainer with your tongue; this can cause damage to your teeth. Place the retainer in the plastic case when it is removed from your mouth. Never wrap the retainer in a paper napkin or tissue; someone may throw it away. Don't put it in your pocket or you may break or lose it. Excessive heat will warp and ruin the retainer.
How do I care for elastics?
A: If elastics (rubber bands) are worn intermittently, they will continually "shock" the teeth and cause more soreness. Sore teeth between appointments usually indicate improper wear of headgear or elastics or inadequate hygiene. Wear your elastics correctly, attaching them as instructed. Wear elastics all the time, unless otherwise directed. Take your elastics off while brushing. Change elastics as directed, usually once or twice a day.
What can I eat with braces? What can’t I eat with braces?
A: Avoid sticky foods such as: caramels, Skittles, candy bars with caramel, Starbursts, Fruit Roll-Ups, toffee, gum, gummy bears, candy or caramel apples
Avoid hard or tough foods such as: pizza crust, ice cubes, nuts, bagels, hard candy, popcorn kernels, corn chips
Cut the following foods into small pieces and chew with the back teeth: apples, pears, carrots, celery, corn on the cob, chicken wings, pizza, spare ribs, hard pretzels