Is It Safe To Swallow Dental Wax? 5 Things You Should Know

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02/23/22

Dental wax is vital for those wearing braces. Also known as braces wax, it is mainly used to help ease discomfort from brackets or wires poking into the tongue or cheek. Usually, when the team at Northwest Orthodontics hands a package of dental wax to the patient, we get a curious stare and a barrage of questions. Can I reuse the braces wax? How do I apply dental wax? Will horrible things happen if I accidentally swallow a piece of braces wax? 

We have heard all of these questions and more, and we’re here to answer all of them. We know getting braces can be a bit stressful, and the last thing you need is more stress about dental wax. Don’t worry! Northwest Orthodontics is here to help! Here are a few tips and knowledge about dental wax to get you started! 

What Is Braces Wax or Dental Wax?

Dental wax or braces wax (it’s the same thing!) is a special wax made from paraffin, beeswax, or carnauba wax. It looks like a tough chunk when you take it out of the package, but the idea is to pinch off a bit the size of a pea and knead it between your thumb and finger until it softens (it won’t take long!). Dental wax is designed to be used with braces, but you can use it with clear aligners! The idea is to create a smooth area over your braces or clear aligners to reduce or eliminate irritation of your lips, cheeks, tongue, or gums. 

Do you have a wire that is poking you? Is a bracket rubbing your lip? Before you end up with a canker sore (also called a mouth ulcer), put a piece of dental wax on it! It should reduce irritation. If you do have a wire poking you, give us a call! We’ll be able to trim it back and tuck it in, so it doesn’t hurt anymore. 

Can I Reuse Braces Wax?

Believe it or not, we’ve had people ask this question: “Can I reuse dental wax?” We have a simple answer. You CAN, but that doesn’t mean you SHOULD. 

Dental wax sits in your mouth just like your teeth, which you brush every day to remove bacteria and plaque. Those same nasties end up on the dental wax, too, which means if you reuse dental wax, you’re putting bacteria and plaque BACK into your mouth. You’re also putting in any food particles that might have gotten trapped.

Gross, right?

Take it from us; it’s best to toss your dental wax as soon as it leaves your mouth. Grab a new piece if you need more. Dental wax should be available in any major retailer’s toothbrush aisle, so it’s easy to get more.

How Do I Use Dental Wax?

It’s easy to use dental wax, but there are steps to take to use it correctly. The first step is one of the most important: WASH YOUR HANDS. You have enough bacteria in your mouth; you don’t want to add more. 

Using those squeaky clean hands, pinch off a piece of wax the size of a pea or a little smaller. You don’t want a big piece, or you may look like you’re walking around with a marble in your cheek. Again, knead that piece between your thumb and forefinger until it’s soft, then roll it into a small ball. Place it over the bracket or wire causing the issue. 

Press the wax gently onto the bracket or wire, then press the edges around the bracket or wire to ensure it stays put. If you do this correctly, it will remain in place. If it falls out, you probably didn’t press it onto the wire or bracket firmly enough or secure it around the edges. 

Remove your dental wax before you eat or drink anything. It should be OK if you’re just sipping water, depending on where the wax is located. Otherwise, go ahead and take it out and toss it. DO NOT REUSE IT. 

Ew. 

Won’t Any Wax Do?

We have had the question of whether it has to be dental wax. That conjures up images of someone melting down a cookie-scented candle to squish onto their braces. 

Let’s be clear: DO NOT DO THIS. For one thing, it won’t work. Braces wax is a special formula designed to stick to your braces without leaving a ton of residue that can trap food on your teeth and lead to tooth decay. It also doesn’t contain some of the chemicals and fragrances that candles have. Those can make you sick, so don’t go biting off candles to try to put wax on your braces. Trust us, stick with the dental wax. Visit your local retailer, pharmacy, or just give us a call if you can’t find dental wax in stores! 

I Swallowed My Dental Wax! Am I Going to Die?

First off — no, you’re not going to die. Take a deep breath; you should be fine. Accidents happen often, and likely, you will swallow a piece of wax at some point. Don’t panic. Really, DON’T PANIC. This is another reason to use dental wax only — it’s nontoxic. That means if you swallow some, you need only wait for nature to take its course. Just don’t make a habit of munching on your dental wax. 

Have More Dental Wax Questions? We Have Answers!

These are the most common questions about dental wax, but they aren’t the only ones. If you have questions about your dental wax, we can answer them! If you’re in the Northwest Arkansas or River Valley areas of Arkansas, give us a call or schedule an appointment, and we’ll be happy to help you out!

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