The DOs and DON’Ts of Braces

Getting braces is a major life change. Dr. Chad Carver and the team at Stellar Family Orthodontics in Mukilteo and Mill Creek, Washington, know how strange it feels to have braces for the first time. One day, you can eat all your favorite foods, and the next, you have a mouth full of metal.

After an initial adjustment period, you should start to get used to your new braces. But you have to remember that they require extra care to protect your teeth and keep you feeling comfortable throughout your treatment.

Here are just a few DOs and DON’Ts of braces to keep in mind:

DO avoid certain foods.

Braces are made up of metal wires and brackets. They’re fixed to your teeth, so it can be difficult to effectively brush and floss after eating certain foods, such as:

  • Gummy candy
  • Caramels
  • Gum
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Hard snacks (pretzels, corn nuts, etc.)
  • Corn on the cob

You should avoid any foods and objects that might affect the stability of your braces. Even chewing on ice cubes, pencils, or your fingernails can damage your teeth when you have braces.

DON’T forget to brush and floss.

Brushing and flossing regularly is crucial when you have braces. Because food is easily trapped in braces, you may be at a higher risk of tooth decay. Dr. Carver recommends brushing at least three times a day, and if possible, after every meal.

DO talk to your orthodontist if you’re in pain.

While mild discomfort is normal after you get braces, long-term pain is not. If you’re still struggling with tooth pain and soreness more than 2-3 weeks after getting braces, talk to Dr. Carver. He can perform a full evaluation to determine whether your braces need to be adjusted.

DON’T forget to follow your treatment plan.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with braces is not following your orthodontist’s advice. If you’re supposed to wear elastic bands, make sure you put them on for the amount of time that Dr. Carver recommends. 

If you’re fitted for a retainer after having your braces removed, don’t forget to wear it every day for at least 4-12 months to prevent your teeth from shifting.

DO tell your orthodontist if you play sports.

High-contact sports such as football, rugby, and soccer already put you at risk of mouth injuries. If you suffer an injury with braces, the metal brackets and wires can tear the soft tissues in your mouth. To prevent severe mouth injuries, Dr. Carver may recommend a sports guard.

DON’T skip your check-up appointments.

Regular adjustment appointments and teeth cleanings are crucial for keeping your teeth healthy while you have braces. Make sure you come in for your regular visits to keep your treatment plan on track.

Have questions about getting braces? We’re here to help! Call Stellar Family Orthodontics today or schedule an appointment online to learn more.