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Updated by Rob Edwards on Jan 12, 2016
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Rob Edwards Rob Edwards
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Top Tips on Looking After Your Braces

Wearing braces can prove to be a trying time, as they can get in the way of you going about your normal routines. Braces make it much more difficult to properly clean teeth, as the fixed metal track and wires obstruct the tooth surfaces. However, taking care of your teeth is even more important whilst wearing braces because it is more difficult to maintain good oral health. Here are some top tips on looking after your braces, so you can finish the treatment with a healthy and happy smile:

1

Be careful with what you eat

Be careful with what you eat

When first getting adjusted to your braces, it’s best to stick with softer foods that require little chewing such as mashed potato, soups or smoothies. Hard foods like raw vegetables or nuts can still be eaten and are a better alternative to sugary foods, yet you’ll need to cut them into small pieces to eat them safely. Biting into hard foods could break your braces or bend the wires. In the same way, chewy foods including sweets or toffee should be avoided, as they can easily damage braces and cleaning them away if stuck between the wires can be quite a challenge.

2

Check your bite

Damaging your braces means making an extra trip to your orthodontist and it can negatively impact on the length of your treatment. The best way to care for your braces is to be careful about what you eat and make sure you do not bite too hard, on food or other objects. Avoid biting fingernails, pens or other hard items because your braces and teeth are more vulnerable to damage.

3

Minimise the risk of tooth decay

Minimise the risk of tooth decay

Sweet and sticky foods, or acidic drinks such as fizzy drinks and fruit juices are common culprits for tooth decay as particles can stay in your mouth and erode the teeth. You should especially avoid frequently snacking, as although your saliva washes harmful sugars and acids away and re-mineralises teeth, it takes time to do this and regular snacking will only create a build-up.

4

Brush teeth properly

Brush teeth properly

To maintain good oral health and health in general, taking the proper care of your teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment is crucial. Whilst wearing braces, it’s advisable to carefully brush your teeth after every meal using a fluoride toothpaste and rinse with mouthwash. There are specialist toothbrushes available to allow you to brush around the brackets and wires more effectively. Ensure you remove any elastic bands or any other removable parts of your braces before brushing around and in between the brackets, and where your teeth meet your gums.

5

Flossing is key

It’s also best to floss in between meals, to remove any trapped food in your braces and help your teeth stay clean and healthy. To floss effectively, thread the floss string down under the wires between your brackets and floss every tooth. There are also stronger flosses which you can get from your orthodontist, more suited to cleaning around the braces.

6

Protect teeth during sporting activities

You should be able to participate in your favourite sports during treatment. However for contact sports such as rugby or martial arts in particular, you’ll need to take more care to protect your teeth against damage or injury. An orthodontic mouth guard will protect your braces from damaging your mouth or being broken in the event that they are knocked when participating in sports – let your orthodontist know if you intend on playing any contact sports during treatment.

7

For a broken brace

If one of your wires or brackets does break, don't panic. Leave the damaged wires or brackets and don’t try to pull them out or bend them, as this could make things worse. Just cover any sharp edges with wax provided by your orthodontist or wet cotton and call your practice as soon as possible.