Brace care

    Get mouth care advice for children (5-15) with braces

    07 Nov 2019

    Brace care

    1. Take good care of your mouth.
      • It’s important that you have a good mouth hygiene routine before a brace is fitted, otherwise you may find that you are more likely to suffer from tooth decay once treatment begins.
      • Once you have had your brace fitted, it’s more likely that bits of food will get stuck, and you will therefore need to brush your teeth and brace much more carefully and more often to help prevent dental problems.
      • If you do not keep your teeth and brace properly clean, or have too many sweets, sugary foods, fruit drinks or fizzy drinks, you may end up with permanent white or brown marks on your teeth.
    2. Eat the right foods. Stay away from foods and drinks that are:
      • chewy – bagels, liquorice, marshmallows
      • crunchy – popcorn, crisps, ice
      • sticky – caramel, toffees, chewing gum
      • sugary – cakes, natural fruit juice
      • fizzy – soda
      • hard – nuts, hard sweets, French bread, crusty rolls
      • whole (unless you cut them up first) such as corn on the cob, apples and carrots.
    3. Brush your teeth and brace well at least twice a day.
      • Try to also brush your teeth after each meal and snack, or at least rinse your mouth with water, to get rid of any food that is stuck.
      • If you have any removable parts on your braces (such as elastics), remove those first and clean them too.
      • Using fluoride toothpaste and a soft, compact toothbrush, place your brush at an angle of 45 degrees against the gums. Gently brush along the gum line where the gums and teeth meet, using a small circular motion on each tooth.
      • Spend about 10 seconds on each tooth before moving onto the next tooth, brushing in a set pattern so that you don't miss any teeth.
      • Gently brush the braces. Press your toothbrush firmly enough so that the bristles spread into the gaps between the wire and the tooth. Brush in and around all of the brackets and wires. Ensure that you brush under the wires.
      • Clean every side and edge of your teeth, including the back of each tooth, all the way to the gum. Don’t forget the teeth right at the back of your mouth.
      • Spit out any excess toothpaste and take a good look at your teeth and braces in the mirror to check that they are properly clean.
    4. You can floss your teeth even if you wear braces, by using a special tool that lets you insert the floss between your teeth. Ask your orthodontist to show you how to do this properly.
    5. You should expect some discomfort when a new brace is fitted, or when you have been for a follow-up appointment to have your brace adjusted, but if the pain remains after a few days, go back to your orthodontist so that they can check all is well.
    6. Clean your removable brace (retainer) over a bowl or a sink filled with water, or something soft such as a folded towel, so that it isn't damaged if you drop it.
      • Keep a separate toothbrush just for cleaning your retainer and gently brush it with toothpaste before rinsing it thoroughly with fresh water. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
      • If you take your retainer out, make sure that you brush your teeth and floss, and keep the retainer safe in its container.
    7. Visit your regular dentist regularly and keep follow-up appointments with your orthodontist.
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