Let’s start with something you do know: if you’re getting braces, you’re going to have to live with them for a while. It could be months. It could be years. Regardless, you want to get them off as soon as possible – and taking care of them properly is the best way to make sure of that. Your orthodontist will tell you how to maintain them but here are some more tips we’ve collected from brace-wearing veterans.

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1. Snack smart

When you get your braces, you may feel a little uncomfortable. But cold food tricks are a great way to give you relief. Frozen grapes, for instance – they’re delicious, healthy and soothing. Pop some seedless grapes in the freezer for about 15 minutes, let them thaw slightly and then tuck in. Frozen yogurt and smoothies are also great options. Not hungry? Swoosh some cold water around in your mouth. Problem solved.

2. Does your flossing material have a threader?

You know how important flossing is but a threader helps you pass the floss above and below your arch wires without any effort, reducing the chances of bleeding gums.

3. Don’t freak if first wires fall out.

First wires are flexible and if they do slip out of the last bracket while you’re eating…keep eating. It’s okay to leave them out as long as the wire isn’t poking you. This is only true of the first wire though. The wires, brackets and elastics during the rest of your treatment need to be firmly attached.

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4. Choose your colors carefully.

These days, there are all sorts of colours available for brace elastics. Dark colours are less likely to change or fade. Clear or white elastics are a great option if you want to be discreet but they often turn yellow because of food and drink. Red pasta sauce, for example, can turn white elastics a little orange. Caffeine can stain clear elastics yellow. Unless you’re prepared to stick to a super strict hygiene regimen, it’s better to go with a darker colour.

5. Orthodontic wax

You will find that there may be times when your braces are poking your cheeks, lips or tongue. It won’t hurt. But it will be annoying. Rub some orthodontic wax over the trouble spots for instant comfort and relief.

The most important secret isn’t a secret But not enough brace-wearers realize its importance. Visit your optometrist regularly. Consult him or her if you think there’s  something wrong. Never be worried about overreacting. You’ll be seeing your optometrist frequently during the course of your treatment. It’s important to have one you trust – and absolutely essential to have one that’s close to where you live or work. We can help with that if you click here.

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