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At-Home Care For Orthodontics

Essential Tips Every Patient & Parent Should Know

young girl with braces looking at phone with mom on couch

Taking the right steps at home is one of the most important factors for successful orthodontic treatments. When you think about it, 99% of orthodontic care occurs outside of the orthodontist’s office! Thankfully, at Shirck Orthodontics, we arm our patients and parents with the knowledge they need to stop problems before they begin and enjoy an easy road to a newly straightened smile. Be sure to take the information on this page to heart, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

How to Ease Soreness

young teen boy with braces on laptop at home

Is your child saying their mouth hurts because of their braces? Are your own teeth and gums a little sensitive because you’ve just switched to a new Invisalign tray? This is perfectly normal, and within a few days, this type of discomfort should go away on its own. In the meantime, we recommend taking an OTC pain medication and rinsing with warm salt water a few times an hour.

Eating with Braces

young boy with braces playing game on phone

In addition to choosing the right foods (more on this below), eating a little more carefully and deliberately is a good idea with braces. A patient should cut their food into relatively small bites to reduce the chance of a bracket coming off or a wire being dislodged. And, while everyone loves sweets, they should be enjoyed very rarely, because an orthodontic appliance can easily trap food particles and sugar against the teeth and gums, which increases the risk of cavities and gum disease.

Foods That Are OK to Eat

young girl with braces holding a toothbrush and interdental cleaner

Basically, any foods that are soft and/or easy to chew get the thumbs-up from your orthodontist. These items won’t accidentally damage an appliance, plus they may make mealtime more comfortable for tender mouths that are still adjusting to a treatment. A few braces-friendly foods include:

  • Yogurt (avoid varieties with a lot of added sugar)
  • Any type of soup
  • Potatoes (as long as they are adequately cooked)
  • Fish
  • Cooked vegetables and fruits
  • Eggs

 

Foods You Should Avoid

If you want to avoid an unexpected, urgent trip to the orthodontist, be sure to avoid particularly hard, sticky, or chewy foods that could damage an appliance and/or become stuck in the wires and brackets. This includes items like:

  • Whole apples, carrots, or corn on the cob (cut them up, and you’re good!)
  • Caramels or gum
  • Ice
  • Popcorn (popcorn itself is OK, but most instant varieties always contain unpopped kernels that could spell trouble)
  • Hard candies
  • Tough meats or meat that has bones

How to Brush & Floss Like a Pro

Oral hygiene is always important, but even more so when undergoing orthodontic care, as an unexpected cavity can easily add months to someone’s treatment. Make sure you or your child take the time to brush every surface of the teeth and around an appliance, which will likely take more time than normal. Those extra minutes will be well worth it in the end! Flossing can be particularly tricky with braces, but certain tools like interdental brushes and waterpiks make it a piece of cake. Ideally, patients with braces should brush after every meal, so getting a travel brush and toothpaste is a great investment for yourself or your child.

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