Can You Eat With Orthodontic Wax? Dos and Don’ts for Braces Wearers
Are you new to the Braces Club? Welcome! Navigating this chapter of life may have you pondering innovative ways to approach tasks that you previously took for granted prior to having braces – namely chewing food and brushing your teeth. But don’t worry – you’re not alone, and this phase will pass. If you’re wondering whether or not you can eat with orthodontic wax, how to apply orthodontic wax, or anything else related to caring for your braces, you’ve come to the right place.
What Is Orthodontic Wax?
When you first get your braces put on, whether they’re metal braces or ceramic braces, your mouth will need some time to adjust. Occasionally, a bracket may rub on the inside of your lips or cheeks and cause a canker sore (or mouth ulcer). To avoid this, protect the affected area using orthodontic wax.
Orthodontic wax is a soft, pliable material that is specifically designed to provide a protective barrier between your braces and the soft tissues of your mouth. It is made from a blend of natural waxes, such as beeswax, and is completely safe to use. Orthodontic wax is commonly recommended by orthodontists to alleviate discomfort and prevent irritation caused by braces.
Can You Eat With Orthodontic Wax?
So, what about meals? Can you eat with orthodontic wax on your braces, or do you have to take it off first? We at Freytag Orthodontics highly recommend that you remove your orthodontic wax prior to eating or drinking. While orthodontic wax is nontoxic and won’t harm you if accidentally swallowed, it’s not meant to be consumed. Chances are, at some point you’ll inadvertently ingest some, but don’t panic. Your body will dispose of it just like anything else.
That said, it’s important to avoid eating while wearing orthodontic wax to avoid dislodging or swallowing it. Even if you’re super careful and the wax doesn’t come off, you still run the risk of combining the wax with food particles which can get stuck and create additional bacteria buildup. Not only is this gross, but it increases your risk of tooth decay and gum problems, too.
Are you wondering what you can eat with braces? Check out our blog on what to pack in a school lunch for teens with braces.
Can You Reuse Orthodontic Wax?
Is it ok to just pop your orthodontic wax back on after eating? In short, no. We don’t recommend this. Reusing your wax is ok if you have no other options, but it’s not ideal. Bacteria and plaque accumulate on your wax, just like your teeth and braces. So, if you put that same wax back into your mouth, you’re letting these microorganisms party on inside your mouth. Yuck!
Make a habit of keeping extra wax and other orthodontic necessities on you at all times. Consider investing in a travel toothbrush and toothpaste; stow them in a small container or a Ziploc bag for quick access in your backpack, purse, or locker. The future you will thank you!
How to Apply Orthodontic Wax
It may seem strange to put wax inside your mouth, but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough – and your mouth will thank you for it! Below is a simple step-by-step guide to applying orthodontic wax.
- Brush and floss your teeth.
- Wash your hands!
- Dry the area where the wax will be applied.
- Take a small piece of wax and rub it into a ball with your fingertips. It should be smaller than a pea.
- Gently press it onto the bracket.
When it’s time to brush your teeth again, be sure to clean that spot extra well to avoid unwanted bacteria buildup left by the wax residue.
Dos and Don’ts for Braces Wearers
Let’s review. To ensure a hassle-free experience while wearing braces and using orthodontic wax, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:
DO – Remove Orthodontic Wax Before Eating
It is crucial to remove orthodontic wax before you eat. Simply peel it off gently and discard it. Leaving the wax in place while eating can lead to a buildup of food debris, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum problems.
DO – Use Orthodontic Wax Properly
When applying orthodontic wax, ensure that your braces are clean and dry. Take a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball, then gently press it onto the bracket or wire causing the irritation. Smooth the wax over the area to create a protective barrier. (Be sure you’ve washed your hands prior to touching the wax!)
DO – Practice Good Oral Hygiene
After removing any orthodontic wax, thoroughly brush and floss your teeth to remove any residual wax or food particles. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is essential for preventing dental issues during orthodontic treatment.
DON’T – Use Just “Any” Wax
Don’t get any wild ideas about repurposing your candles! Wax for braces is specially formulated for teeth – sans chemicals and fragrances. Your orthodontist will supply you with your first batch of orthodontic wax, and for any subsequential refills, you can visit your local pharmacy or grocery store.
DON’T – Reuse Orthodontic Wax
Orthodontic wax should be used for temporary relief and discarded once removed. Avoid reapplying the same piece of wax as it may have accumulated bacteria or become contaminated.
DON’T – Ignore Bigger Issues
Don’t use orthodontic wax as a substitute for professional assistance. While orthodontic wax can provide temporary relief, it is important to consult your orthodontist if you experience persistent pain or discomfort, or if you have a loose wire. Do not attempt to fix, bend, or cut wires or brackets on your own. Our team at Freytag Orthodontics is ready to help. We’ll be glad to address the underlying issue and provide a long-term solution.
Schedule Your FREE Initial Exam
Orthodontic wax is a valuable tool for managing the discomfort caused by braces, providing a temporary solution to alleviate pain and irritation. By adhering to the dos and don’ts outlined in this blog, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable orthodontic treatment journey. Check out our Before and After Braces Wall of Fame for inspiration!
Looking for an orthodontist near northern Tucson? We have two convenient locations: Oro Valley and Marana, Arizona. We offer traditional braces and Invisalign for both teens and adults – we’ll get you the perfect smile at any age! At Freytag Orthodontics, your initial exam is free. Schedule an in-office orthodontic visit or opt for a virtual visit to get started.