If you’ve always dreamed of having a beautiful smile, braces are the most effective way of achieving your very own. From traditional metal braces to Invisalign, there are a variety of options to fit your budget and your preferences. Today’s braces are both affordable and virtually painless, but there are a few things to keep in mind when undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces, including the importance of brushing and flossing multiple times a day, and avoiding sticky and sugary foods as much as possible. Here are our tips and tricks for getting the most out of life while wearing braces.
Many of the foods you were once able to enjoy without braces can also be eaten with braces- you just have to be extra careful. However, there are a few types of foods that it’s best to avoid.
Hard and crunchy foods are best avoided as often as possible to prevent the loosening of wires or the breaking of brackets. These types of foods can cause damage to braces that can only be repaired with a trip to the dentist. Some hard and crunchy foods to avoid with braces include:
It’s also recommended that individuals who wear braces avoid sticky and sugary foods that can attach to brackets and wires and cause significant damage. This includes candy, caramel, sodas and other sugary drinks, cake, ice cream, and other desserts.
While most people do not experience pain from wearing braces, there are exceptions. You may experience occasional mild soreness due to the movement of teeth below and above the gum line, which can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers or a warm saltwater mouth rinse. You also may experience some soreness after a tightening. Some other ways to relieve your pain include:
If your braces are damaged from food or if your brackets or wires become loose, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist. However, there is a temporary fix that can prevent permanent and lasting damage. Simply affix a small amount of orthodontic wax to the area until you can make an appointment with your orthodontist to have them repaired.
You should floss daily, both with braces and after you have them removed. Using a waxed floss makes it a little easier, as non waxed floss tends to get stuck on brackets and wires. The use of a floss threader will help to thread the floss between the wires. Use floss at least 12 inches long, and gently slide it between your teeth up to your gums.
An alternative way to floss with braces is by using a Waterpik or other similar device that uses water pressure to remove food particles and tartar to prevent plaque buildup which can lead to cavities, gingivitis, tooth loss, and more. The Waterpik system is great for anyone who is concerned about their oral health, but especially for children who need additional supervision during brushing or adults and adolescents with braces who have trouble using traditional floss.
While Waterpiks are great and can be convenient, some studies have shown that they aren’t quite as effective at removing plaque from between your teeth as traditional floss. Waterpiks are great to add to your current dental cleaning routine, especially to remove food from your teeth right after eating.
It's a good idea to avoid foods that are sticky, chewy, and hard with braces, as these can make your braces more susceptible to damage. If you do get food stuck in your braces, here's what to do.
It's not uncommon for those who wear braces to experience chronic dry mouth and dry lips. Fortunately, applying lip balm can help ease the discomfort of dry lips. Applying a heavy layer of lip balm before bed can also protect sensitive lips from becoming chapped or dry. For dry mouth, consider using a mouthwash intended to prevent chronic dry mouth and associated symptoms like bad breath. Brands like Therabreath and Biotene offer products which do not require a prescription and can be purchased from your local drugstore or grocery store.
It’s important to be prepared for any situation when it comes to braces. An on-the-go braces kit can help make those days when you are out and about a little easier. You will no longer have to worry about not having your at-home tools to care for your braces. In your kit, you can include items like:
Many patients are curious as to how they can keep their teeth from staining while wearing braces. With brackets and wires in the way, it can be a little more difficult to keep your teeth pearly white. However, it is certainly possible by taking advantage of a few tips and tricks.
When wondering how to keep your teeth clean and white, always consider going back to the basics. Although there are unique tips and tricks to whitening teeth with braces, basic oral hygiene is the number one way to prevent stains. This includes:
Another easy way to prevent stains from forming on your teeth is to schedule routine checkups with your orthodontist and dentist. Though you should be going twice a year already, your orthodontist may recommend going more often due to your braces. While at your routine checkup, ask your orthodontist for recommendations and advice on how you can better care for your teeth while wearing braces.
As we mentioned before, there are certain foods that you should avoid while wearing braces. However, there are some foods that even those without braces try to avoid. The following foods are known to stain teeth:
Wearing braces doesn’t have to diminish your confidence level or make your feel less beautiful. In fact, the process is a great time to build self-esteem and identity. Oftentimes, patients feel insecure about smiling or showing off their new set of braces. However, we recommend enjoying the process as much as possible!
Instead of constantly worrying what people are thinking here and now, try to focus on the big picture. In a short period of time, you will no longer have braces. It’s important to concentrate on the future and not get so caught up in what people may be thinking about your braces right now!
One fun aspect of braces is getting to pick out the colors of bands each time you visit your orthodontist. For younger patients, having colorful braces may make them feel more confident. On the other hand, adults may opt for clear or white bands. Either way, being able to personalize your experience can boost your confidence.
Playing sports with braces can be dangerous if you do not take the correct precautions to protect your teeth. The main way to protect braces and teeth in a sporting event is to invest in a mouthguard. Whether you think you may get hit near the mouth or not, it is better to be safe than sorry. There are a few mouthguard options including:
Almost every patient looks forward to the day when they have a brace-free mouth. Although we can’t guarantee a faster process, there are ways to prevent a delay in getting your braces removed. A few ways to prevent a delay are:
Smiling with braces can be intimidating at first. With foreign objects in your mouth, it may seem a bit awkward in the beginning. However, once your braces feel comfortable, you won’t want to stop smiling knowing you’re well on your way to a gorgeous smile. Here at Parris Orthodontics in Germantown, TN, we believe confidence is key! Perfect that beautiful smile of yours by keeping your teeth and braces clean. Not only will this help you feel more confident about smiling, but it will also help your smile become picture perfect!
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