It is very important to clean your braces every time you brush your teeth, to make sure you remove all plaque (plaque causes tooth decay). You need to brush your braces gently, making sure that the bristles get into the spaces between the wires and the teeth. Make sure you brush in and around all of the brackets and wires.
If you have a removable appliance, take it out and brush your teeth as normal, then use your toothbrush and some more toothpaste to clean the appliance itself. If the appliance covers your gums, give them a gentle brush before rinsing your mouth and the device and putting it back in.
Certain foods will damage the wires and bands in braces, and should be avoided where possible. These include nuts and biscuits, blocks of ice and harder fruit such as apples and carrots, which should be chopped into smaller pieces before eating, and chewed using your back teeth. It's also a good idea to avoid very 'chewy' foods – toffee, candy, fruit bars and chewing gum are best avoided (see our soft food cookbook for more hints and tips).
It's also advisable to avoid other habits that might break your braces, such as chewing on a pencil, nail biting and picking at your braces.
If your braces do break, you must arrange to see your orthodontist as soon as possible, as broken braces are not helping to straighten your teeth!