Taking Care of Your Braces

Are you or your child soon to get braces? There are some changes you will have to make to ensure your braces can do their job properly, such as avoiding difficult foods that may dislodge a bracket or get stuck in your wires. For most patients, these changes do not represent a significant lifestyle change and it takes very little time to adjust to your orthodontia.

Do you want to learn more about braces and braces care? Visit Markham Orthodontics of Sacramento CA to meet with Dr. David Markham. Contact us at (916) 924-8970 to make an appointment.  

Braces Care

Taking good care of your braces is a great way to make sure you don’t have to spend any more time wearing them than necessary. The more efficiently your braces work, the faster you’ll get them off!

A common orthodontic emergency for patients is when brackets become dislodged or disconnected from a tooth. This can happen if you chew on a hard non-food item (such as a pen or piece of ice), or hard foods that are to be avoided (see list below). When a bracket or wire becomes displaced you will need to make an emergency appointment to have it reattached.

No one likes having extra dental visits! Avoid damaging your braces by eating only soft foods and never putting non-food items in your mouth.

Foods to avoid when wearing braces:

  • Hard candy
  • Hard cookies
  • Hard taco shells and corn chips
  • Chewing gum
  • Sticky foods: taffy, Starburst candy
  • Ice (Chewing ice is bad for your teeth anyway; don’t do it!)
  • Caramel popcorn

Foods you can eat—but only if you cut them into smaller pieces:

  • Bagels, hard rolls, French bread
  • Corn on the cob
  • Raw vegetables and crunchy fruit
  • Steak and burgers

Braces and Tooth Decay

Because braces add a lot of extra nooks and crannies to your mouth, there are many more places for bacteria to hide and damage your teeth. Any food residue that gets left in the braces will feed bacteria, cause bad breath, and increase the odds of developing cavities and dark stains.

You can counteract these potential problems by carefully removing plaque and food residue every time you brush your teeth. If you do not brush carefully around the brackets, it’s possible for bacteria to lodge in the tiny spaces between the bracket and your tooth enamel. This can result in cavities on the front of the teeth, which are difficult to treat.

Your oral hygiene when wearing braces needs to be thorough and vigilant:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, using fluoride-containing toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day, using a flosser or stiff-ended floss threader to work within the confines of your wires.
  • Use a special pick brush or end-tufted brush to help you remove food from around your brackets and in your wires.
  • Before you finish, make sure to visually check that you’ve removed all traces of food from your braces.

Many people choose to add a third toothbrushing at midday when they wear braces. If you do this, be sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush—as too much brushing can be rough on the gums. If you cannot brush your teeth after each meal, at least visit the bathroom and rinse your mouth vigorously with water. This can help remove food residue until you brush again.

Avoiding Mouth Irritation

Occasionally the metal of your brackets and wires may irritate the soft tissues of your mouth. This can result in pain or small sores that form on the inside of the cheek or lips. When you get your braces, you will be given small pieces of wax that can be used to cushion the metal so it doesn’t bother you. Break off a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball before sticking it against the irritating piece of metal. If you play sports, we can make you a special mouth guard to wear to protect your mouth and braces from injury and damage.

To learn more about braces and braces care, visit Markham Orthodontics of Sacramento CA. Contact us at (916) 924-8970 to make an appointment.