Congratulations on your new braces. Here are some tips for you to care for your braces.

1. Brushing

Make sure to brush every morning and evening spending at least two minutes each time you brush. There are specific areas of the mouth that should be brushed. These include the gums, the tops of brackets, under the brackets, flat against the brackets, on all chewing surfaces, the backs of the teeth, and the tongue. Always angle your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. If you are currently wearing rubber bands, be sure to remove them before brushing. Make sure to gently brush around brackets. After brushing, inspect your entire mouth including in between brackets and wires to check if anything is stuck. And consider switching to an electric toothbrush for more effective cleaning.

2. Flossing

Consistent flossing is important to maintain good gum health. By maintaining a regular flossing schedule, you are less likely to experience swelling, bleeding and/or infections in your gum line. Make sure to floss every night after brushing. While flossing, be sure to focus on the underwire and both sides of the gum line. While beginning the new flossing routine, gums may bleed slightly but will decrease with regular flossing. Make sure to rinse with mouthwash twice a day after brushing and flossing. It is recommended to use mouthwash that includes fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent cavities which can happen when food is stuck in between braces.

3. Proxy Brush

Proxy brushes are used to reach in between the arch wire and brackets. They are used to remove food particles, remove plaque and stimulate the gums. Use the proxy brush gently between the brackets. If the proxy brush doesn’t fit easily between the brackets, do not force the brush, or you risk breaking a bracket.

4. Treating Discomfort

After getting your braces, you may experience soreness or discomfort. Follow-up visits called adjustments may also cause minor soreness or discomfort. Eating or drinking cold foods, such as smoothies, ice cream or frozen yogurt will help to relieve soreness after your bonding or adjustments. If pain persists you can take any common pain relievers. If you are a minor, make sure to ask your parent `or guardian for permission.

If braces webbing against the inside of your mouth is causing soreness, you can use orthodontic wax or a warm salt water rinse. To create a warm salt water rinse, dissolve two teaspoons of salt into two cups of warm water and rinse it in your mouth. To use orthodontic wax, pinch off a small portion of wax and soften it by rolling it between your fingers. Apply the softened wax to the brackets or wires that are causing discomfort.

Poking wires at the back of the mouth can be clipped by using nail clippers. On the brackets steel ties are sometimes used instead of colored rubber bands. If the end of a steel tie is dislodged and is poking you, they can be bent back under the wire with a pencil eraser. If a bracket has come off, please call your orthodontic office to determine whether or not you can wait until your next visit to have it replaced. If you have tried all the treatment discomfort methods and are still in pain please call your orthodontic office to consult whether an appointment is necessary.

5. Foods to Avoid

Eating the wrong types of foods can damage your braces. It is important to know which foods to avoid. Avoid eating any kind of hard or crunchy foods, such as nuts, pretzels, heart candy, meat on bones and you should also avoid chewing on ice. Cutting up foods such as fruits and vegetables is a better idea than biting directly into them. It is also important to avoid sticky and chewy foods, such as gum and candy.

Hope this has helped answer any of your orthodontic questions. If you have more questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

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