Taking Care of Your Teeth with Braces
Getting new braces may be scary because it’s new and different, but with a few simple tips on how to care for your mouth given your change in dental health, the transition should be easier. Braces, of course, are used to straighten crowded or crooked teeth, or to correct other dental issues such as an abnormal bite.
Braces are important for more than just aesthetic reasons, though. An abnormal bite could lead to other dental health issues, such as tooth decay or gum disease, tooth loss, jaw problems, tooth enamel wear or even affected speech or chewing. Thus, it’s important to take care of your teeth once you do have braces, for maximum dental health.
First and foremost, you have to watch what you eat. Aside from general good dental health, brushing several times daily, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly, there are certain foods you should avoid to ensure the best outcome with your braces.
Foods to Avoid
- Popcorn, Corn nuts, Corn on the Cob
- Sugary foods; if you do eat sugar, drink water to flush the sugar off your teeth or brush them immediately
- Sticky foods, such as caramels and taffy
- Hard foods and crunchy foods, such as nuts, chips, jerky and hard candy
- Chewing gum
- Foods you have to bite into, like apples, carrots, celery (cut them into pieces)
- Eating meat or chicken off the bone
- Avoid chewing on hard objects like pens, pencils, fingernails and ice
*Ask your dentist or orthodontist for a complete list
And now that you have braces, you need to change your dental hygiene routine just a bit. Braces make your teeth hard to clean well, you have to brush after each meal, and flossing may be difficult. But if you don’t adjust your cleaning habits, you may suffer white spots called decalcification, gingivitis in your gums or other problems.
Dental Health Tips
- Brush after every meal; make sure you clean around the brackets of your braces well.
- That means brush two or three times a day.
- Brush a couple of teeth at once.
- Use a soft toothbrush, replace every 3 months or so, or when the bristles fray.
- Brush your teeth at a 45 degree angle
- See your dentist every 4-6 months.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, for at least two minutes after every meal, an electric toothbrush is ideal for getting into the crevices of your teeth with your new braces. When you do brush your teeth, make sure you clean your teeth at the base of the gums, the insides and back of your teeth, as well as the brackets, making sure you get the spots under the wires. You should replace your toothbrush every three months, especially since braces have a tendency to wear down brushes.
Video Tutorials on Taking Care of Your Braces
Also, if you play contact sports, you need to protect your teeth with a mouth guard made to cover your braces. Finally, make sure to check in with your dentist regularly to keep tabs on your braces and dental health.