Congratulations on deciding to have orthodontic treatment – the first step toward achieving a healthy, beautiful smile. One of the most important things you need to remember is that taking care of your teeth and gums becomes even more important while wearing braces.
Following are 5 tips for looking after your braces.
1. Brush Your Teeth Immediately After Eating
If your dental hygiene wasn’t great before you got braces, it’s time to get serious. Taking care of your teeth and gums is even more important when you wear braces and by “taking care” of them we mean brushing and flossing regularly. While brushing twice a day is the typical recommendation, while wearing braces, you should brush after every meal or snack. Food particles can easily get trapped in the braces, and if they stay trapped, you’ll be at a greater risk of developing severe dental problems.
2. Cut Your Food into Small Bites
Even healthy foods, like raw carrots and apples can cause problems with braces because their hard texture can loosen or break brackets. The good news is that you can still eat crunchy foods if you cut it into small pieces. You will need to avoid hard foods like beef jerky, ice, nuts and popcorn all together because of the potential damage they can do.
3. Invest in an Air Flosser or Waterpik
Braces can cause oral health problems that include decalcification and gingivitis that can result in more serious issues. An effective and easy to remove plaque around braces and greatly improve gum health is to use a Waterpik or air flosser that has an orthodontic tip. These tips have a tapered brush on the end that helps remove the plaque that gets stuck between teeth and to the brackets. These dental devices also help flush away food debris and bacteria from under the gums and around the teeth. Both Air flossers and Waterpiks have been clinically proven more effective than regular dental floss.
4. Avoid Sticky, Gooey Foods
When you wear braces, you always need to be careful about what you eat. This is especially important when it comes to sticky, gooey foods. Avoid eating foods that include taffy, caramel, dried fruit, and chewing gum – all are hard to remove from braces and can end up causing breakage.
5. Don’t Skip Dental Visits
Regular visits with your general dentist is a necessity that should be taken seriously during orthodontic treatment. If you skip regular dental visits, you’ll put your smile at risk of serious dental issues that include tooth decay that can have a critical impact the success of your treatment.
Having braces means you need to pay special attention to your mouth, but the end results will be well worth the effort. Do your best to prepare for the braces to come off, revealing your new and improved, dazzling smile.
Ousama El-Hillal, referred to as Dr. O by patients, staff and friends is an Orthodontist at E&S Orthodontics. He founded E&S Orthodontics with Dr. Saavedra in 2004. He is driven to create Wide Beautiful Smiles Without Extractions.