Life with braces is an adjustment. Getting braces means sacrificing some short-term comfort for long-term comfort. Braces help ensure your teeth sit together correctly in your mouth, without causing pain. They straighten your teeth to do so, creating a straighter smile.
But the process to get to this straighter, more comfortable smile takes some adjustments. Especially in the beginning, when your braces are first put on. Here is a quick look at some handy tips from our pediatric dentistry team for how you or your family members might best adjust to this new addition.
Start with softer foods
The first week following the placement of braces is typically the hardest. This is partly just because of it just being a new experience and a new feeling for your mouth and gums. The gums and even teeth will typically feel sensitive and sore for the initial days after starting orthodontic treatment.
To ease your way into life with braces, we recommend altering your diet to softer, easier to chew foods. This is especially true if the person getting the braces is a child. For example, mashed potatoes instead of baked potatoes and soups instead of salads with croutons.
Start carrying around a toothbrush
Food is attracted to those crevices around braces. If you leave that food alone, then you risk a whole host of negative side effects including cavities and tooth decay. The best way to avoid all of these unwanted repercussions is to be committed to brushing your teeth after every meal.
If your child is getting braces, we recommend starting the habit of carrying a toothbrush around. Make it a family habit with the whole family committing to brushing in the morning and evening, along with quick maintenance brushing after eating. Establishing this as an early habit before the braces are placed is the best way to ensure that your child successfully adjusts to the new responsibility after starting orthodontic treatment at our office.
Having dental picks or proxabrushes handy is also a good idea as these are able to get into places that toothbrush bristles can’t.
Rinsing with salt water
Finally, one of the most valuable insights we have to combat soreness and irritation is a salt water rinse. Add just a bit of salt to warm water and swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds whenever you feel an irritation or soreness at the braces or gum line. Salt water is fantastic at reducing discomfort and if there are any cuts or sores, the salt sanitizes the area and helps it heal more quickly. Each time should be about 30 seconds. Any longer or more frequently and you risk causing irritation instead of resolving it. It’s also important to ensure your child isn’t swallowing the salt water as it may upset their stomach.