Everyone’s Must-Have Guide for Life with Braces
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry dealing with the improper alignment of the teeth and jaws. Some individuals have difficulty biting, chewing, or speaking because of dental malalignment and malocclusion (wrong bite). Getting braces will solve these problems, but wearing braces is a new experience which needs proper education and instruction. If you recently got braces, here’s an in-depth guide to help you manage your teeth and orthodontic hardware.
Cleaning Your Teeth With Braces
If you look in the mirror and inspect your braces closely, you will see that they have many nooks and crannies where food residue and plaque can get trapped. This means that you have to clean your teeth thoroughly after eating to avoid increasing your risk of tooth decay. Food particles can get stuck on the corners of the brackets (the small square things attached on the teeth). You need to brush the surrounding area around the brackets to clear away food residue and eliminate plaque. The best way to do this is by using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. Spend a few seconds brushing each bracket and tooth to ensure that you’ve removed all the food debris. An electric toothbrush may prove useful, as well as a proxabrush which is especially designed for brushing between braces.
The archwire which connects one bracket to another can also trap food between teeth. When cleaning the archwire, you may need to use a toothpick if a piece of food gets caught in it. However, be very careful when using toothpicks on your braces because the force can hurt your gums. Be gentle but thorough, inspecting every single tooth for any food particles.
For the molars, brush the chewing surfaces thoroughly with back and forth strokes. Don’t forget the backs of your teeth along the tongue in the lower jaw and the palate in the upper jaw! Use soft, circular motions when brushing and don’t rush. Your total brushing time should be at least 2 minutes.
You can still floss while wearing braces but be careful not to get the floss caught in archwire. Use gentle sliding motions to get the food particles stuck in between teeth. Fluoridated mouthwash also works great in eliminating bacteria and preventing white spots caused by the braces. Be sure to still use fluoridated oral care products to minimize the risk of tooth decay and demineralization of the teeth.
Foods to Avoid When Wearing Braces
Nuts, hard cookies, breads, and pretzels should be avoided to prevent damage to your braces. If you eat crunchy fruits and veggies like apples and carrots, chop them into small bite-size pieces. Foods that are hard to chew such as bagels, French bread, and steaks, as well as soft and chewy foods like soft candies, caramels, bubblegum, and taffy should also be avoided. You should also stop bad dental habits like nail-biting, crunching on ice, and chewing non-food items.
Getting braces is a huge, life-changing investment which will have a lot of benefits for you in the long-run. Apart from the perfectly aligned smile, you can also talk and eat more comfortably after orthodontic treatment. But while you’re still wearing braces, make sure you take care of them and your teeth. It may require extra care and maintenance, but the results will be worth every minute that you spend brushing and flossing.
If you experience any issues with your braces or feel pain when brushing or flossing, visit Rana Dental Clinic immediately for a consultation. Our Lincoln Park and Totowa clinics are open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. You may also call (973) 457-4264 in case of emergencies.