11 Things to Help with the Pain of Braces: Expert Tips and Strategies

things to help with braces pain
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Dealing with braces can be a challenging experience, particularly when it comes to managing the discomfort and pain that often accompanies the initial stages of treatment. As the teeth begin to shift and align, it’s not uncommon for individuals to seek relief from the soreness that may persist for a few days or even weeks. This article aims to explore 11 things to help with braces pain, allowing patients to focus on achieving a beautiful and healthy smile.

Why Do Braces Hurt?

Many factors can contribute to braces pain, including the pressure exerted by the archwires, brackets, and rubber bands on the teeth and gums. As the braces apply force to move the teeth into their desired positions, it’s natural for some individuals to experience heightened sensitivity and discomfort. Fortunately, several proven methods can help minimize pain and make the braces adjustment journey more comfortable.

See also: Tooth Sensitivity – Why Do My Teeth Hurt After Eating Ice Cream?

Things to Help with Braces Pain

From over-the-counter medications to at-home remedies, a wide array of options exist to help those with braces find relief from pain. Engaging in proper oral care and maximizing comfort during this transition period is essential not only for reducing pain but also for maintaining overall oral health.

Use Orthodontic Wax

Orthodontic wax can be an effective solution to relieve braces pain caused by rubbing the braces appliances. When the wires of braces start to pinch against the soft tissues of the mouth, dental wax is applied to create a barrier between the braces wires and your mouth. Dental wax is made from natural waxes and may contain a few extra ingredients for texture and flavor, like mint.

Worth Knowing

To use wax for braces, make sure your hands are clean, then break off a small piece of wax, roll it into a ball, and flatten it between your fingers. Carefully apply the flattened wax directly over the braces bracket or wire that is causing the discomfort. Press firmly to ensure the wax stays in place and effectively covers the source of irritation.

Use Ice, Ice Packs, or Something Cold

Applying cold therapy to the oral area can effectively relieve the discomfort associated with braces. Utilizing ice packs or other cold objects on the outside of the mouth can offer temporary relief from pain and inflammation.

When the teeth and gums are stressed by braces, the resultant soreness can be profound. By applying cold therapy, such as a chilled gel pack or a simple ice cube wrapped in a cloth, to the external jaw or cheek area, you not only numb the pain but also reduce the inflammation that may have built up. Always remember, however, to avoid direct contact of extreme cold with the skin or gums to prevent any unwanted reactions or sensitivity.

Make a Gum Massage

Gum massages can be a helpful method to alleviate braces pain. They promote long-term oral health care while easing the discomfort caused by braces. Gently massaging your gums increases blood flow, reducing inflammation and tenderness in the area.

See also: Toothache or Earache: Identifying and Treating the Pain

Worth Knowing

To perform a gum massage, use a clean finger or a soft toothbrush to gently rub your gums in circular motions. Focus on the areas near the braces brackets to maximize pain relief. Incorporate this technique into your daily oral care routine, repeating it as needed to alleviate discomfort from braces adjustments.

Use Peppermint Tea Bags

Peppermint tea bags can be an effective remedy to help alleviate braces pain. The remedial properties found in peppermint tea can reduce inflammation and soreness experienced when wearing braces. Additionally, any residual heat from the used tea bag can provide extra comfort.

Worth Knowing

To use peppermint tea bags for braces pain, make a cup of peppermint tea, then remove and allow the tea bag to cool slightly before placing it directly on the sore area. Gently press the tea bag against your gums and braces to benefit from its soothing effects. Replace the tea bag as needed, and repeat the process for relief throughout the day.

Use Heating Pad

Applying a heating pad is a proven technique to mitigate the discomfort associated with braces. The warmth from the pad helps relax the jaw muscles, providing relief to the sore areas.

Worth Knowing

Hold the heating pad against the affected region, following the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and safety precautions. Always monitor the temperature to avoid overheating and ensure the skin is protected to prevent burns or irritation. Consider integrating this method into your pain-relief regimen for a more comfortable orthodontic experience.

Eat Cold Food and Drink Cold Drinks

Eating cold foods and drinking cold drinks can provide relief from braces pain. Cold temperatures can help reduce inflammation and pain by producing a numbing sensation in the mouth.

Soft, cold foods like yogurt, smoothies, and mashed fruits such as bananas, strawberries, and peaches, are excellent options for those wearing braces. Additionally, drinking cold beverages like water, juice, or soft drinks can further help diminish the pain and inflammation linked to new or tightened braces. 

Rinse Your Mouth with Warm Salt Water

Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water is also an effective way to alleviate pain associated with braces. This simple home remedy helps reduce gum inflammation and irritation caused by newly placed brackets. A warm salt water rinse not only eases discomfort but also promotes a healthier oral environment by increasing the pH balance inside the mouth, making it less hospitable for bacteria.

Worth Knowing

To prepare a salt water rinse, dissolve one teaspoon of table salt into a glass of warm water. Swish the mixture gently around your mouth for about one minute, then spit it out. Repeat this process several times a day, particularly during the first few days of wearing braces and whenever you experience more pain.

Use Analgesic Mouthwash

Utilizing an analgesic mouthwash offers an effective and proficient method for alleviating the discomfort and pain that often arises from wearing braces. Regular rinsing with a specialized mouthwash can contribute significantly to diminishing inflammation in the oral cavity. Additionally, the inherent disinfectant properties of such mouthwashes play a pivotal role in enhancing and maintaining optimal oral hygiene, especially in areas that may be hard to reach or clean due to the presence of braces.

See also: Can Braces Cause Tooth Sensitivity to Cold?

Some popular analgesic mouthwashes contain ingredients like benzocaine or menthol. These components are instrumental in imparting a soothing, cooling effect, which aids in significantly reducing the sensation of pain and providing immediate relief to the user. 

Use Numbing Gel

Numbing gels, such as Orajel and Anbesol, can provide temporary braces pain relief and are widely available in most pharmacies and drugstores. Comprising active ingredients like benzocaine, these over-the-counter oral anesthetics work by desensitizing teeth and gum tissues, making it easier to cope with the discomfort of shifting teeth.

Worth Knowing

To use a numbing gel effectively, apply it directly to the sensitive teeth and gums using a cotton swab or clean finger. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to let the numbing effect take place. Remember to follow the product’s instructions for safe and effective use.

Take a Painkiller Before Your Appointment

Anticipating the potential discomfort associated with orthodontic appointments, especially during braces adjustments, can be a wise strategy to ensure a more pleasant experience. Taking a painkiller prior to your visit can significantly mitigate the pain and tenderness that often ensues after adjustments. Over-the-counter pain relievers, notably ibuprofen or acetaminophen, have proven to be generally effective in managing this specific type of dental discomfort. These medications act by reducing inflammation and blocking pain signals, thus providing a level of relief that can make post-appointment hours considerably more bearable.

What Else Can You Do?

Navigating the intricacies of orthodontic care requires a proactive approach to comfort and maintenance. The presence of braces can introduce a range of sensations and potential discomforts, from the pressure of adjustments to potential tissue irritations. Consequently, adopting specific practices and habits can dramatically enhance the overall experience, ensuring that the journey toward a perfect smile is as smooth as possible.

Eat Soft Foods

When experiencing braces pain, it’s important to choose soft foods like yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, and bananas to minimize discomfort. Avoid hard or crunchy items that may exacerbate the pain or cause damage to your braces.

Be Patient

Remember that braces pain is temporary and will typically subside within a few days. Focusing on engaging in activities or hobbies can help distract you from the discomfort while your mouth adjusts.

Take Care of Your Oral Hygiene

When wearing braces, it’s imperative to uphold rigorous oral hygiene standards. Remember to brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and regularly incorporate the use of mouthwash and a water flosser for a thorough oral cleaning.

See also: Dental Cleanings with Braces


Braces pain is a common issue faced by many patients. It is important to remember that this discomfort is temporary and can be managed effectively. By using oral anesthetics, consuming soft foods, and maintaining proper oral hygiene, patients can alleviate their pain and ensure a smooth orthodontic treatment process. Emphasizing patience and perseverance, individuals can overcome these challenges and make strides towards achieving a healthier and more confident smile.


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  3. https://orthodonticbracescare.com/dental-wax-for-braces/
  4. https://www.putnamorthodontics.com/dental-wax-for-braces/
  5. https://cardinalorthodontics.com/the-benefits-of-rinsing-with-warm-salt-water/https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/salt-water-rinse
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/salt-water-rinse

Iza Wojnarowski

Content contributor

Iza is a dedicated content contributor for Toothific. Having worn braces twice and currently using Invisalign to correct a mild overbite, Iza brings a unique perspective to her writing. She spends her time staying updated on the latest dental trends and treatments, ensuring her readers have the most current information for their dental care needs.

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