Orthodontic braces care might seem overwhelming at first. Don’t worry. While it’s a lot to take in initially, you’ll quickly become a pro at caring for your new braces.
All you have to do is make some simple adjustments to your normal routine. You’ll also need a few new supplies, which your orthodontist may either provide in a care package or recommend what to buy.
To make sure your braces last and you get them off faster, follow all of these tips and start looking forward to your new straighter smile.
1. Be Careful What You Eat
As much as you might crave sticky or hard foods, avoid them. Ideally, you should avoid anything sticky that could get stuck in your braces, such as caramel, toffee and fudge. Sticky sweets can damage the wires of your braces.
Hard candies, nuts, popcorn and other hard foods have the potential to break or loosen your braces. You can still eat some harder foods, such as raw vegetables and fruits as long as you cut them into small pieces. You definitely don’t want to just bite into an apple as this could severely damage your braces. However, snack on an apple by cutting it into small bites first.
If this diet sounds terrible, just plan on treating yourself to everything you had to avoid after you get your braces off.
2. Check For Any Damage
In most cases, you’ll notice damage based on how your teeth and gums feel. As part of your daily orthodontic braces care, run your tongue along your braces to check for anything that may be out of place. Also, look in the mirror to ensure nothing looks loose or cracked.
While some pain and irritation are normal, especially after you first get braces and after adjustments, unusual pain could be a sign of damage to your braces. Schedule an appointment with your orthodontist immediately to check.
3. Always Brush After Eating
Food gets stuck worse than ever when you have braces. All the wires and brackets serve as a home to food particles and bacteria. The longer all of that stays in place, the more likely you are to have plaque buildup, and even worse, cavities.
Try to always brush after eating. Even if you don’t have time to floss, brush after every meal. If you need to, buy a folding travel brush to stick in your pocket or purse and a travel-sized toothpaste. A quick trip to the bathroom to brush helps keep your teeth healthier and food out of your braces.
4. Use A Floss Threader Or Interdental Brush
If you try to floss normally, you’ll just end up with your floss wrapped around your wires or brackets. This leads to damage. By using a floss threader, which your orthodontist can show you how to use, you can weave the floss above and below the wires. This helps you further clean out bacteria and plaque.
Alternately, you can use an interdental brush. These resemble toothpicks with small bristles on the end. They come in both standard bristles and silicone bristles and easily fit into pockets and purses for quick fixes on the go.
Even if you weren’t a flosser before, now is the time to start. If plaque damages your teeth, it could throw off your entire orthodontic plan. It’s better to take the extra time to floss for healthier teeth.
5. Use An Air Or Water Flosser
If you still hate dealing with floss, you can buy an air or water flosser. These use either air or water to blast away debris between your teeth. Make sure you use the flosser around every bracket and wire for an optimal clean. You may still want to carry some interdental brushes with you to pick out food while you’re away from home.
6. Brush Gently For Two Minutes Or More
A quick brush isn’t enough to keep your teeth clean, especially while you’re wearing braces. For the best orthodontic braces care, always brush your teeth gently for at least two minutes every time. You may even want to add an extra minute to give yourself extra time to brush thoroughly around the hardware in your mouth.
Brushing too roughly or using harder bristles can damage your braces and cause more irritation. Always use soft bristles and brush gently. If you’re making your gums bleed or hurt, you’re brushing too hard.
Also, brush at least twice a day and always before you go to bed. This is in addition to brushing after meals.
7. Rinse With A Fluoride Mouthwash
Bacteria loves to hide around your braces. Keep your braces clean and your teeth healthier by always rinsing your mouth with fluoride mouthwash. Plus, you get fresher breath. After all, you don’t want people to focus more on your breath than your braces.
Rinse after brushing twice a day. It only takes 30 seconds to a minute for a healthier mouth and smile.
8. Use Dental Wax
Dental wax helps protect your mouth from irritation while wearing your braces. While you’ll usually get a small amount to start you off, make sure you keep using it. You can buy more dental wax to prevent rubbing.
9. Wear A Mouthguard While Playing Sports
If you play sports or are very active, always wear a mouthguard to protect your braces. While braces are durable, they can’t withstand hard hits, such as getting hit with a ball. Plus, your mouth is at risk too. If you get hit in the mouth, your braces could severely cut your lips and tongue. Having an oral cut and/or infection isn’t fun, especially if your braces rub and irritate it.
10. Follow All Your Orthodontist’s Instructions
The most important piece of orthodontic braces care advice you can get is to always follow your orthodontist’s instructions. They give you strict steps to follow, not as a suggestion, but as a way of helping you take better care of your braces and teeth while being treated.
Always make sure you go to every appointment. Your orthodontist needs to check that your treatment is going well, there’s no damage to your braces and to advise you on any changes you need to make.
Questions about caring for your new braces? Contact our office today to schedule an appointment or to ask for assistance.