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Caring for Braces

Oral Hygiene

Now that your braces are on, extra care must be taken to brush your teeth and gums better than ever before.
There are three zones at risk for decay and gum disease; around the brackets, along the gums, and between the teeth.
Food and plaque that collect can cause:

  • stains
  • cavities
  • puffy, bleeding gums
  • unpleasant odors
  • slower tooth movement

Q & A

Q. When should I brush?

A. After every meal or a minimum 3 times per day.
Remember, the most important time for you to brush, is prior to bedtime.

Q. How do I Brush?

A. Don’t rush . . . BRUSH every tooth surface OVER, UNDER, AROUND, and BETWEEN every bracket. You may use a manual brush or power/rotary brush. In addition, you will require a proxy brush to clean effectively between the brackets and under the archwire.

Q. Can I Floss?

A. Of course you are going to floss, at least once a day. You will need…

Super Floss

Floss Threaders

Platypus Flosser

Q. Why do I Rinse?

A. A flouride-containing mouth rinse (daily formula: .05% Flouride) completes your oral hygiene routine. This flouride helps to protect the teeth, kill bacteria that can cause decalcification (destruction of the teeth) and rejuvenates the flouride releasing glue used to hold the braces in place. Flouride is a companion to good brushing, NOT A SUBSTITUTE.

Are you really going to eat that?

We recommend a well-balanced, soft-textured diet, which is free of hard, sticky, high sugar food. Did you know that by simply being careful and following the guidelines provided, you can prevent 90% of all broken or loose brackets.

“Thumbs UP”
mashed potatoes
sugarless gum

“Easy Does It”
popcorn(no kernels)
raw veggies (thinly sliced)
whole fruits (cut in pieces)
pizza crust
bagels(small pieces)
corn on cob (cut off cob)
meat (ie;ribs)- cut off bone

“Not a Chance”
pens & pencils
bubble gum
nuts/hard candy
sticky candy
Sugared Drinks

Pressure from eating hard candy, pizza crust, or pencils, weaken the adhesive, but not enough for the bracket to become loose immediately. The next thing you know, you are at school, work, or actually eating some mashed potatoes, and guess what? Your bracket pops off. True Story!

A little note about SWEETS! We know that you will likely eat something that contains sugar, however, when you do, please see that you brush or rinse your mouth immediately afterward. SWEETS cause DAMAGE to your teeth. The worst of all the sweets are soft drinks. It does not matter if the soft drink is diet or not, it will have the same effect on your teeth. Make the best choices for your dental health.

What can I eat when my teeth are sore?

Understandably, your teeth may be sore after your braces are placed, an archwire changed, or a new appliance or retainer inserted. Some thoughtful food preparation will be most helpful for your comfort and proper nutrition.

The greatest soft food ever invented…...... MILK!
Drink it plain, flavored, in hot chocolate, or milkshakes.
Smoothies…. made with yogurt, milk, fruits (fresh &/or frozen)
Add protein powder for additional nutrition.
Unsweetened applesauce has sustained many an orthodontic patient.
Add cubes of cheddar cheese to bouillon, or hot soups. The cheese will melt.
It’s easy to eat, and better yet . . . more tasty.
Always yummy and comforting to eat, mashed potatoes.
Shredded cheese will dress these up too.
Scrambled eggs and oatmeal are excellent choices on a tough day.

Problems and Solutions


It is typical to experience minor discomfort for 2–3 days after the placement of your braces. This can best be managed by eating softer foods, as well as using a non-prescription pain reliever, such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol.
As you adjust to your new appliances/braces, your cheeks may become irritated. Orthodontic wax, as provided to you, should be placed directly on the bracket for relief and comfort.

Loose or Broken Braces/Appliances

It happens! Don’t worry. Please call our office @780.434.6860 (during business hours) and we can help determine if a repair should be done quickly, or may wait until your next appointment. Your treatment and comfort come first, yet we do want to avoid unnecessary trips to the office for you.

Poking Wires

Oh… these are annoying. We want to snip those right away to eliminate discomfort. Call us and we can remedy that for you. If our office is closed, here are a couple of tips to provide ease until we can see you.
– using a pair of tweezers, grip the wire between your two front teeth and slide it carefully in the opposite direction of the poking wire.
– here’s another use for that orthodontic wax


Here’s the great news. Problems that occur during orthodontic treatment are unlikely to be an emergency.
We do however, want you to feel confident in managing situations that may arise. For that reason, please follow these guidelines during your treatment…

Urgent (require immediate care)

  • severe discomfort (may be caused by broken/dangling hardware; Herbst or expansion appliance)

Non-Urgent (but none-the-less important)

  • loose or broken bracket
  • lost rubber bands (can be mailed or picked up)
  • irritations (poking wire, bracket, canker sores)

Make sure with all loose or broken materials, that you notify our office (during business hours) so that we can provide additional time at your appointment to repair or rebond brackets.

Weekend Care # 780.977.0484

Because we are not always in the office when problems arise, we are happy to provide our Weekend Care number to be used with the following considerations:

  1. This care number is not for the purpose of canceling or rescheduling appointments.
  2. Calls are managed by Dr. Palmer’s Dental Assistants
  3. Messages left on the phone are checked Friday’s, Saturday’s & Sunday’s @ 9:00am and 5:00pm and during designated holidays
  4. Messages are NOT checked on Statutory Holidays!
  5. The Orthodontic assistant will return your call to help resolve any concerns or problems you may be experiencing.

“Comfort Smoothie”

1 cup milk
1 banana
4 – 5 frozen strawberries
1 tsp. honey (optional)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

In a blender combine all ingredients except the strawberries and blend on medium.
Turn to high and add frozen strawberries one at a time until smooth.

*You may add protein powder or other fruits as desired.

Enjoy !

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