Your orthodontist is working hard to ensure you have a painless and comfortable experience with your braces. Regardless, your braces will require some adjustments: after all, it’s a big change to undergo, one that will be with you day in and day out for up to 24 months.

As you go through life with braces, you’ll want to have a couple tricks ready in your back pocket to make yourself comfortable and happy.

Hack 1: How to get food out of your braces

Food can easily get stuck in your braces while eating. Particularly, it can get jammed under wires between brackets. To fix this, start with taking a glass of water and swishing it around in your mouth. If the food remains, you should keep a travel-sized toothbrush or flossers handythey’re better than your average toothpick.

Hack 2: Keep pain at bay

After getting your braces put on or going through a routine checkup or tightening, you may experience some pain. Soreness or sensitivity of the teeth or mouth is common. To fight this pain, you can start with drinking cold water or other cold beverages. You can also rinse your mouth with salt water, using 1 teaspoon of salt in a tall glass of warm water.

If your teeth are still in pain, there’s always the option of using pain relief medication before and after your appointment to ease your discomfort.

Hack 3: Choose soft foods

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort from tight braces, or you’ve just gone in for a checkup, stock your fridge and pantry with soft foods like bananas, pudding, pasta, stews, and rice. Avoid eating anything too crunchy, sticky, or hard, as these foods can irritate your teeth or place unnecessary pressure on your braces.