Protecting Your Smile & Your Braces
Orthodontic treatment will greatly enhance your smile, your health, and your self-confidence. But getting the best results with your braces requires temporary changes in your daily routine. There are some easy steps you can take to prevent complications.
Remember this while you’re wearing your braces — there’s a beautiful new smile waiting for you on the other end. Before you know it, you’ll be eating whatever you like with your perfect smile.
Caring for Clear Aligners
Clear aligner treatments like ClearCorrect® are more low-maintenance than traditional metal braces. This removable orthodontic appliance makes oral hygiene a breeze. Simply remove your aligner before caring for your teeth like normal, making sure to thoroughly clean the aligner before placing it back in your mouth.
There are no dietary restrictions with clear aligners, as you can remove them before eating or drinking something other than plain water. Be sure to clean both your teeth and your aligner to eliminate lingering bacteria. Failing to do so may trap unhealthy substances between your smile and aligner, which could lead to oral health complications like cavities or tooth decay.
Foods to Avoid
The first few days after you get braces can be uncomfortable as your body adjusts to treatment. During this time, we recommend sticking to softer foods until you get used to the braces.
When you wear braces, there are foods you can avoid to prevent damaging them. These include:
- Hard Foods like ice cubes, popcorn kernels, and jawbreakers.
- Sticky Foods like taffy, gum, bagels, and caramel.
- Sugary Foods like candy, jam, jelly, chocolate, breath mints, and soda.
- On-the-Bone Foods like chicken wings, barbecued ribs, and corn on the cob.
Cleaning Your Teeth
Your braces can create spots where dangerous plaque and tartar are likely to accumulate. Fortunately, there are special tools to clean around your braces. Cleaning your braces after every meal or snack is crucial for preventing cavities. And you should always keep up with your daily oral hygiene.
Protecting Your Smile
If you engage in sports or other demanding physical activities that may result in damage to your face, a mouthguard is recommended. This will protect your braces and prevent your mouth from getting injured.
What Causes Orthodontic Pain?
Some level of soreness is to be expected during orthodontic treatment — after all, the position of your teeth is being significantly altered. This will diminish over time. Here are some steps you can take to make your braces as comfortable as possible:
Solutions to Soreness
- Wax — We’ll provide you with orthodontic wax at your appointments to use as needed. If your braces rub up against your cheek, lip, or tongue, the wax can act as a buffer between the two surfaces.
- Saltwater rinses — Warm salt water is a great remedy for sore lips, gums, and cheeks. Just add a teaspoon of salt to about half a cup of lukewarm water. Then swish the water around without gargling for one minute before spitting it out.
- Chewing on soft foods — Chewing on soft foods that won’t damage your braces can reduce soreness. Apple slices, cheese slices, or small celery slices can help to pump out the fluid accumulation that causes soreness.
- Eat berries — Berries contain high levels of antioxidants and they also help to reduce intraoral swelling. Cherries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are all great options.
- Pain medication — If your soreness isn’t alleviated by other methods, over-the-counter pain medication may help to manage it. It usually isn’t needed, but sometimes it can help.
Frequently Asked Questions
To take care of your teeth with braces, it’s important to care for your teeth after every meal. Rinse your mouth out with water to loosen any food particles that may be stuck in your teeth or braces. You may also want to brush your teeth after every meal in addition to the regular twice a day. You can use interdental cleaners specifically created for braces to get between your teeth.
It’s important to follow your orthodontist’s instructions to care for your braces. We’ll let you know if there’s anything special you should be doing to take care of your teeth and we’ll instruct you on which foods to avoid during your time in braces.
If you don’t take care of your braces, your teeth will be affected. You can end up with permanent white stains on your teeth after your braces are removed, and you can develop oral diseases such as cavities and periodontitis. If your oral health declines while you still have braces on, we may have to remove the braces until you’ve recovered from your oral health issues.
While you don’t have to brush every time you eat, it can greatly reduce your likelihood of developing cavities and other oral health complications. Food gets stuck in braces more easily and can lead to oral disease. Rinsing your mouth out with water after eating and brushing your teeth can help keep food from getting stuck in your braces.