Taking Care of Your Braces

Brushing Your Teeth

Patients often approach brushing as they do most tasks that they perform repeatedly. They do it the same way each time. The problem with this technique is if they miss spots on their teeth, they miss them routinely. Braces create food traps and act as a barrier to the bristles of a toothbrush thus requiring a unique approach. Learning the skills to brush with braces will instill better brushing habits when the braces are removed. The biggest obstacle to cleaning the teeth is directing the toothbrush past the “braces barrier”. Two things are necessary: 1.) Looking at the teeth while brushing and 2.) Directing the bristles in multiple angles so they get beneath and above the wire and touch the tooth! At Forbes Orthodontics we recommend brushing with a wet toothbrush first to remove the food and plaque. Inspect your work by looking in the mirror. Most patients do not inspect their work. It is like proof reading a paper for errors before submitting it to your teacher. After inspection, then brush again using toothpaste to add fluoride and refresh your mouth.

Managing Braces

After the placement of braces, you may wonder how and what do I eat? Mom or Dad may wonder how you take care of the braces. We want you to keep the enamel of your teeth as pristine as when the braces were applied. Prior to the application of braces we clean your teeth thoroughly, apply a sealant and add an additional coating of Transbond Plus 3M which protects the enamel for approximately one year after application.

Foods to Eat With Braces

You can eat popcorn and chew gum as long as it is sugarless! We don’t mind gum because it can assist in plaque removal. You can eat most foods, if a little common sense is used.

Tenderness After Appliance Placement or Wire Adjustment

When you first have your braces placed, the cheeks may be irritated and you may feel tenderness when eating. Initially, on the first day, Ibuprofen may help take the edge off the tenderness. This is perfectly normal and we promise that the pain will subside in a couple of days. The cheeks will toughen up. Wax is provided to block out sites that are sore, when we place the braces and you can get more at any time.

Importance of Appliance Care

Lost brackets or broken appliances can increase your treatment time. It only involves a little extra care. The biggest problem Dr. Forbes’ encounter is inconsistent rubber band wear. While we offer a permanent elastic, it is cheaper and easier if you get into the habit of wearing your rubber bands. Typically, after three days of continuous wear, the discomfort of rubber bands goes away. Remember, only by wearing rubber bands will your teeth move.

Sports and Braces

You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment. If you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let us know if you need help finding the right mouth guard for the best protection.


Wire pokes, loose brackets, broken appliances or accidental falls sometimes happen. Dr. Forbes has only one practice location and lives nearby. If you call the emergency telephone number, he usually will be able to help you that night. Use your smartphone to take a photograph to show him what is wrong. You can temporarily fix a wire poke with sugarless gum. It sticks better than wax.  Then schedule an office visit to have the wire poke corrected.