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Last Reviewed 03 October 2023

Medically reviewed by Dr. Paul O'Connell, Bachelor Dent. Sc. (Trinity College Dublin) 2004, Practice Limited to Orthodontics

Table of Contents

Braces aftercare video - 3dental
Caring For Your Braces
Braces aftercare video - 3dental
Caring For Your Braces

Congratulations, you're on the road to a straighter smile!

Your braces will gradually align your smile, correct any issues with your bite and helping you look your best, but remember - looking after them is essential to ensure they work effectively!

This orthodontic aftercare guide covers vital tips to enhance your treatment results and protect your new braces.

Choosing the right foods and drinks

The foods and drinks you can eat with braces depend on the type of braces you have. Invisible aligners are removable, so you can consume a range of foods - as long as you take them out.

However, fixed braces require more care, and watching what you eat and drink is important.

Foods To Avoid While Wearing Braces

braces aftercare instructions
  1. Chewing gum
  2. Hard vegetables such as carrots or celery unless cut into small pieces.
  3. Any type of nuts
  4. Popcorn
  5. Steak – unless tender and cut into small pieces
  6. Hard sweets and toffee

Eating softer foods ensures you can protect your braces and prevent any damage. Soft food includes ice cream, yoghurt, scrambled eggs and soup. Sticky foods such as toffees can destroy the wires and make retainers harder to clean.

Protect your build-ups

In some cases, we might use dental build-ups to enhance tooth movement and correct overbites. While build-ups have many benefits, some people find eating challenging initially, so it's best to consume a soft diet.

As the treatment progresses, your teeth will gradually move closer together, which will help you eat normally. We aim to remove your build-ups as soon as possible and rarely use them for the entire course of treatment.

Drinking with braces

Aligners and retainers are prone to staining, and we advise you to drink water only while wearing them. However, if you want to drink sodas or alcohol, you can take them out beforehand. Fixed braces require more orthodontic aftercare, as you can't remove them.

Along with avoiding hard foods, opting for clear beverages ensures no staining. For example, lemonade is better than cola if you're having a soda. You can still have alcohol, but choose vodka and gin over whisky or darker spirits.

Keeping your braces clean

toothbrush - braces aftercare instructions

Removable braces require ongoing maintenance, but they're easy to keep clean if you know what you're doing. Ensure you rinse your braces with warm water daily and use a soft toothbrush to gently remove debris.

While some people use toothpaste, invisible braces are susceptible to damage, so it's best to avoid it altogether. 

Cleaning the braces weekly with a specialist solution can prolong their lifespan. During their appointment, we advise our orthodontic patients on the right cleaning products for their braces.

Caring for your braces

If you don't look after the braces properly, they won't be effective.

  1. Do not break, bend or lose parts of your braces, as this means they won't serve their intended purpose.
  2. If you knock your braces off, please call the clinic, and we'll arrange an appointment to fix them.

Once the braces are removed, we recommend seeing the hygienist for a scale and polish to remove tartar buildup.

dental hygienist - aishling hynes - 3dental galway

Maintain oral hygiene

Good oral hygiene is always important, but it's imperative when wearing braces. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy can be challenging with fixed braces as they cover the teeth and can attract food.

When the food becomes stuck, it can lead to bacteria growth and plaque, causing issues with oral hygiene. If you wear aligners, you should take them out before brushing and maintain a consistent schedule of twice daily.

Here are some tips for keeping your teeth clean and gums healthy.

Brush regularly

Brushing twice daily with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes will protect your teeth. If you have permanent braces fitted, you can use an interproximal brush, which cleans between the teeth and gums, removing plaque and food.

Remember to brush after eating, even if it's just a light snack. Check your teeth and gums after brushing to ensure no debris, as failing to clean difficult spots will result in decalcification lines.

6 month braces testimonial - Louise Collins
How To Floss Your Teeth

Frequent flossing

Interdental brushes are ideal for removing debris from your gums and brace brackets, but you should also floss regularly between the teeth. Maintaining a consistent flossing schedule means food won't get stuck in difficult areas, which prevents the need for dental care.

If we notice problems at your next appointment, we might have to remove the braces to prevent decay.

Remember – braces do not cause white lines around your teeth – it's the food particles and plaque around the braces that cause this decalcification.

Please keep your teeth meticulously clean to avoid tooth decay and decalcification.

Managing discomfort from orthodontic treatment

Some people find their braces can be uncomfortable at first, but there are things you can do to reduce this. As part of our orthodontic aftercare guide, here are some tips to make retainers and fixed braces more comfortable.

Evaluate your discomfort

Invisible aligners are designed to move the teeth into better positions, so it's only natural to feel some discomfort at first. However, it usually subsides after a few days, and painkillers should reduce your discomfort.

Rinsing your mouth with salt water can reduce the risks of mouth ulcers and toothache. However, if discomfort worsens, don't hesitate to get in touch with our orthodontic team.

Use orthodontic wax

Orthodontic wax is a beneficial treatment for people with wire braces, as it offers a protective barrier between the braces and gums, preventing mouth ulcers and sore spots. Just rub it onto the braces, and you'll notice the difference.

Wear gum shields

Your braces shouldn't stop you from playing sports, but protecting your mouth is essential. You can remove Invisalign (or other invisible aligner) before playing sports or wear a custom-made gum shield to prevent any damage during contact sports.

An orthodontist can discuss your options and evaluate whether gum shields could benefit you.

Caring for your brace today makes tomorrow's smile even brighter!

You invested in braces to improve your teeth and boost your confidence, so following the steps in our orthodontic treatment aftercare guide should be a no-brainer. Looking after your teeth and braces requires minor lifestyle changes, but the results are well worth it.

If you need any advice, please don't hesitate to contact our team of experts.

Meet Our Orthodontic Team

Dr. Paul O'Connell - Dentist - 3Dental

Dr Paul O'Connell

Practice Limited to Orthodontics

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Dr.Paula Taracido - Practice Limited to Orthodontics - 3Dental Dublin

Dr Paula Taracido

Practice Limited to Orthodontics

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Dr.Sandra Montano - Practice Limited to Orthodontics - 3Dental Dublin

Dr Sandra Montano


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Cosmetic Dentist Dublin - 3Dental - Natalia Berlinschi

Dr Natalia Berlinschi

Orthodontic Specialist & Cosmetic Dentist

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Bobby Price - Dentist - 3Dental Limerick

Dr Robert Price

General Dentist/Orthodontics

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Dr Cem Algul

Specialist Orthodontist

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Dr Clara Garcia

Practice Limited to Orthodontics

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Dr Kahei Hernández

Practice Limited to Orthodontics

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Rayan Rehman - Dental Nurse - 3Dental Dublin

Rayan Rehman

Orthodontic Therapist

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Sarah Dempsey

Orthodontic Therapist

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