The best way to prepare for them and minimize any inconveniences that can result is to keep a braces care kit handy anywhere you go. There are several items that should be in any braces care kit.
The simplest way to fight back against oral health problems like cavities (which would set back your treatment timeline) is to keep a water bottle on you at all times. Water helps rinse away food debris and increase your saliva flow, and saliva is the first line of defense against harmful bacteria and enamel-eroding acids.
Anyone with metal braces should be brushing after each meal and snack to keep food debris from lingering and attracting harmful oral bacteria. Not doing so can lead to gum disease or other oral health issues. A great way to make this easy is to carry a travel toothbrush and toothpaste tube. Try to dry off the toothbrush as much as possible after using it and don’t store it in an airtight container, though, because it will get smelly and moldy if it can’t dry out!
Brushing isn’t always enough to get every piece of stuck food, and regular floss can be tricky to use with braces. Special floss picks made for navigating around braces can really help get around the brackets and wires to floss quickly and easily.
Brushing after every meal and snack will sometimes mean not brushing in a bathroom. If there’s not a mirror to check for leftover food debris stuck in your braces, carrying one in your kit will ensure that you can check your work after brushing. Selfie mode on your phone also works!
Most braces-wearers will experience a poking wire or another part of the appliance rubbing uncomfortably against the inside of their cheeks at some point during treatment, and having some orthodontic wax on hand to cover anything jabbing at you can be a major relief.
If your treatment includes elastics to help correct a bad bite, it’s essential to follow the orthodontist’s instructions on how long to wear them during the day and how many to wear. Just in case you lose an elastic or one breaks, it’s a good idea to keep some spares handy. However, resist the temptation to wear extra elastics! “More is better” is not true in orthodontic treatment and will probably create new problems that will take longer to fix on top of the original ones.
Particularly for the days right after an adjustment, your mouth will sometimes be sore. Keeping some over-the-counter pain medication in your kit will help until your teeth get used to the new position.
The next time we see you, we’d love to check out your braces care kit. You and your orthodontist are a team working towards Braces Off Day when you have the properly aligned smile you’ve been waiting for, and a kit like this is a great way to ensure that you arrive at Braces Off Day on schedule and in excellent dental health!