Dos and Don’ts of Braces

Information Overload

There is lots of information on the internet for patients who have just been fitted with either fixed or removable braces. Your orthodontist will also provide you with lots of facts about how best to look after your teeth while the braces are fitted. Sometimes it may be difficult to remember all the details and to make sure you do everything you need to – and avoid doing those things that you shouldn’t! Below is a simple list of dos and don’ts for anybody just fitted with braces to stick to during the course of their treatment.


  • Keep your mouth clean; brush at least three times a day and after every meal if convenient. Keep a spare toothbrush in your bag, school locker or desk drawer for use during the day. Not only will this stop plaque developing on your teeth, but the treatment will work more effectively if you keep the brackets and wires clean. Floss and use mouthwash regularly to help in keeping your mouth as clean as possible.
  • Cut your food into smaller pieces; your ability to swallow may be affected by some more traditional braces, though modern designs make this less of an issue. Check at least once a day to ensure your braces are still in one piece and that they haven’t been damaged by anything you have eaten or done that day.
  • Attend appointments with your orthodontist and dental hygienist regularly. The hygienist will help you keep your mouth and teeth clean, while it is important you don’t miss any appointments with your orthodontist or the progression of your treatment may be affected. This is more significant if you have fixed braces which need to be tightened. If the braces become loose they are not doing their job.
  • Take mild painkillers or a home-made salt mouthwash if you are suffering any pain after having braces fitted or tightened. This is a normal part of the process, though is becoming less of an issue with modern braces. If the pain continues, speak to your dentist.


  • Avoid sugary, sticky or hard foods. Any of these can damage your braces by snapping wires or become stuck to the brackets. Also they are most likely to contribute towards tooth decay of you are not keeping your teeth suitably clean.
  • Do not hesitate to contact your orthodontist if something does not feel right. If either fixed or removable braces feel loose or broken, the chances are that they are not moving your teeth effectively and you could waste weeks of treatment time.
  • If you play sports, do not go ahead with using some kind of protection to stop your braces from causing injury in your mouth. Either remove the braces altogether, if possible, or use a mouth guard if you have a fixed system.
  • Do not bite your nails or suck your thumb. Behaviour like this is probably what contributed to the problem with your teeth in the first place and will continue to force them into crooked positions, even while you have braces fitted.