If you've decided to get braces to help improve your tooth alignment, you may have discovered that there are some challenges to your new lifestyle. Since you're going to have them on for about 1–3 years, this article discusses two common problems you might face in the adjustment period and how to deal with them.
1. Mouth soreness
It isn't uncommon to experience soreness once your braces are placed and each time they are adjusted. This is because your teeth, gums and mouth need time to readjust to your new brace position. As it rubs new spots within the mouth, some sores and irritation is common.
You can reduce the irritation by gargling mild, warm salt solution. Do it as many times a day as you need to, since you won't swallow. The salt solution has antiseptic properties; it provides relief from soreness and washes out bacteria from sore spots. It can also reduce the swelling and alkalinity in your mouth. If the salt solution doesn't help, anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen can help.
Orthodontic wax is made from natural wax, and you also can use it to protect the inside of your cheeks and gums from friction caused by the braces while your mouth is adjusting. This wax is non-toxic and safe to swallow, and is made to slowly disintegrate in the mouth. It is transparent and flavourless, although there are some flavoured brands. You can use it as often as you need to; probably more often in the beginning. The wax helps your sores to heal faster and prevents new ones from forming.
2. Oral hygiene
Your oral hygiene regimen is a little more complicated than it was before your braces. Not only will you need to brush and floss properly at least three time a day, it's important to also brush after eating anything where possible. Because of your braces, food particles can easily get stuck between the brackets and your teeth, making great hiding spots for decay bacteria. Use good fluoride toothpaste and keenly work on all areas to prevent decay. You can invest in a toothbrush with an orthodontic tip for better results.
Interdental toothbrushes are helpful for reaching around the brackets and archwires in places your regular toothbrush cannot reach. Use it before brushing to remove large food particles. Use a mirror to ensure you don't leave anything behind. You must also work on flossing, even though it's more difficult with braces on. A floss threader can help you get floss under the wires. Finally, antiseptic mouthwash is great to reduce chances of gum inflammation, but it's no replacement for all of the above.