Taking Care of Your Braces

by Sacks Orthodontics

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Brushing & Flossing

You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food becomes caught in the brackets and between your teeth and can only be removed by brushing and flossing. If plaque remains on the teeth for any time, it can leave a permanent white scar on the surface. Brushing after meals should become part of your daily schedule. Use a soft toothbrush and brush at a 45-degree angle on the tooth circularly, below, and above the brackets.

Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it when the bristles start to appear worn. The Waterpik is a useful addition to brushing; it cannot remove the sticky plaque that adheres to the teeth but can help clear away debris. Flossing is also a habit not to break. It is essential with braces and is easily accomplished using reusable floss threaders.

Eating Habits

Please do not eat hard and/or sticky foods. Hard foods include nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spare ribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating), and popcorn! These foods can cause breakage of the brackets and wires. Also, beware of nail-biting and pen or pencil chewing habits since these can damage your braces.

Don't Eat Sticky Foods

Do not eat sticky foods like taffy, caramels, bubble gum, or sticky candy of any sort. Use common sense about most foods. Excessively broken appliances due to careless eating habits may result in additional repair charges. Braces Check your braces once a week for anything loose or bent. If a bracket or band comes loose, or you break a wire, please call our office so that we can arrange an appointment long enough to repair it.

Sore Teeth

After braces are placed in the mouth, it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about 2 to 3 days. Tylenol or Advil/ Motrin will help relieve this discomfort. Some irritation to the cheeks and tongue is normal, but please call our office if you feel anything sharp poking you.


Attached to your braces, elastics (rubber bands) exert the proper force that creates the right pressure to move teeth and correct your bite. For this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and changed a minimum of 2 times every day. Any time missed wearing your elastics will only make your treatment take longer, so make sure to wear them as instructed. Remove them only when brushing your teeth and when eating meals. Then put them back on immediately. Don't double up the next day if you forget to wear your elastics one day – follow your regular instructions.

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