Knowing the ins and outs of dental hygiene with braces can help maintain the health of your teeth and avoid damage.
No matter your age or dental history, having braces can be an adjustment. Orthodontic equipment not only impacts your appearance, but also makes it harder to eat, brush your teeth, and floss. The following tips for living with braces will keep these complications to a minimum, allowing you to live your life freely while straightening your teeth:
1. Forbidden Foods
Certain foods can break or clog up braces, and should thus be avoided entirely. These include:
- Chunky peanut butter
- Caramel, taffy, and other chewy or gummy candies
- Hard candies
- Chewing gum
Familiarize yourself with all forbidden foods before your braces go on. The sooner you know what not to eat, the easier it is to avoid foods that may damage your hardware.
2. Eat Carefully
Besides inherently dangerous foods, there are many items that you can eat but must be careful with. Eat chips and other crunchy items slowly and in small quantities. Fruits and vegetables should be either cooked or cut into small pieces. For chewy breads, tear off small sections and eat them slowly.
3. Remember to Brush
Whereas most people only need to brush two times a day, those with braces should do so after each meal. Begin brushing along the area between the braces and your teeth. Then brush downward from the top of the brace brackets and upward from the bottom before moving to the back.
4. Reliable Rinsing
Before you brush your teeth, swish water around your mouth. This loosens up food particles lodged inside, making it easier for your toothbrush to do its job.
5. Wise Toothbrush Choices
Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles, as it will be easier on the braces and your gums. You may also opt for an electric toothbrush.
6. Flossing is Still Important
Braces increase both the difficulty and the importance of flossing. At least once a day, floss your teeth thoroughly, focusing on the area between the gum and brackets. Then thread the floss under the wire and clean that area as well.
7. Sports Savvy
If you play sports, you will need a mouth guard to prevent the wires from breaking or bending. Your Little Rock dentist can customize the guard so that it fits over your braces. Once you have a guard, wear it diligently while playing sports.
8. Control Your Chewing
Chewing on pencils, fingernails, and other hard items is never good for your teeth, but it is particularly harmful if you have braces. Thus, if you have a chewing habit, kick it before the braces go on. This may require dealing with other sources of stress in your life, for which chewing can often be a symptom.
9. Wax Wisdom
Braces may rub against your lips, causing discomfort and chafing. To keep these issues to a minimum, carry a supply of wax to rub on the wires whenever this happens.
10. Find the Fun
The more you can have fun with your braces, the easier it will be to care for them and feel good about your appearance. One way to enjoy them is by varying their color to match holidays and other occasions. Consider getting red and green bands before winter holidays, orange and black for Halloween, or red and gold in anticipation of your next Harry Potter party.
Arkansas Family Dentistry promotes clean, straight, healthy teeth for all patients. For more information on orthodontics and dental care in Little Rock, contact us by calling (501)-683-8886 today.