ANYONE WITH BRACES should have a handy braces kit they can bring with them to deal with minor issues that crop up throughout the day. Here’s what we recommend including in a kit:
1. A water bottle. Water helps rinse away food debris stuck between brackets and increase saliva flow, and saliva is the first line of defense against harmful bacteria and enamel-eroding acids.
2. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Anyone with metal braces should be brushing after each meal or snack to keep food debris from lingering and attracting harmful oral bacteria. However, try to dry off the toothbrush as much as possible after using it and avoid storing it in an airtight container so that it doesn’t get moldy!
3. Flossers. 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.
4. A small mirror to check for food debris.
5. Orthodontic wax for poking wires or brackets.
6. Extra elastics. It’s essential to follow the orthodontist’s instructions on how long to wear them during the day and how many to wear, and it’s always good to have a few spares on hand. But never wear more elastics than instructed to!
7. Painkillers for soreness, particularly in the days right after an adjustment.