Home Care for Braces
Read more from the American Association of Orthodontics or click on the image to the left.
- You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food compacts in the brackets and between your teeth, and can only be removed by brushing and flossing.
- If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it will leave a permanent white scar on the surface, possibly leading to tooth decay.
Video From the American Association of Orthodontists: “Brushing & Flossing”
Your First Day After Braces + Oral Hygiene Instructions
1. Do warm salt water rinses (1 tsp salt/ 1 glass water) 3x per day for the first 5-6 days after you get your braces on. This will toughen up the inside of the lips and cheeks and decrease irritation.
2. For the first 24 hours, stay on a soft diet of soups, yogurt, shakes, mashed potatoes,etc. Do not bite on any solid or hard foods for the first day.
3. Brush & Floss after each meal. Use a soft bristle toothbrush. Brush in small circular motions at a 45 degree angle towards your gums, and all surfaces of your teeth & braces.
4. Brush around each bracket and along the gum line to prevent decalcification of teeth which causes permanent white spots/lines on teeth.
5. To maintain ideal dental health: Brush after each meal. Floss each night. And use an interproximal toothbrush to get into the hard to reach areas. Try a Water-pik for convenience
6. Remember to continue to see your general dentist for regular cleanings every 4-6 months.
Video From the American Association of Orthodontists: “What to eat..”
Avoid hard foods: whole nuts, ice, corn chips or taco shells, bread crusts, popcorn, corn on the cob, and whole apples and carrots (enjoy fruits & veggies after slicing them thinly).
Avoid foods that are overly sweet, sticky, or hard (all candies, sugary gums, dried fruits).
Foods that cannot easily be cleaned off of your braces may lead to permanent tooth discoloration, white lesions and/or tooth decay.
Minimize Sugary Foods & No Soda. If sweets are enjoyed, please brush/floss right afterwards.
Remember: Sugar + Plaque = Acid –> Swollen Gums + White Spots + Decay
Your braces are fragile and are usually damaged when you eat the wrong foods. The more damage to your braces, the longer it will take to finish your treatment.
Also beware of nail biting and pen or pencil chewing habits – since these can damage or break your braces and wires, leading to increased treatment time.
- Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it more often – whenever the bristles start to fray.
- A Waterpik can be a useful addition (to brushing & flossing), as it removes food behind and around your brackets & wires which are otherwise difficult to reach.
- A Sonicare (electric) toothbrush is very helpful – and is highly recommended during (and after) treatment.
- Flossing is important and should be done every day – at least once a day – and preferably before bedtime.
See the links below for more information on these useful hygiene aids.