As you might expect, after you have braces placed on your teeth they need a little additional attention to protect them from gum disease, staining, and tooth decay. You also need to take care not to damage the wires and brackets that work to help your adult braces improve the structure of your smile. For example, activities you should avoid include eating sticky or chewy candies, eating crunchy or hard foods, biting your lip, tongue thrusting, or excessive mouth breathing.
Here are a few other tips to keep in mind while wearing your braces.
While brushing at least twice a day is the standard recommended by the American Dental Association, you really should brush after every meal while wearing braces. That also includes after every mid-afternoon trip to the snack machine or any late night munchies you might experience while bingeing on Netflix. You need to brush so frequently due to how easily food can become trapped in your braces, and the longer those particles stay stuck, the greater your risk of developing dental problems becomes.
Start by rinsing your mouth with water to loosen any food particles trapped in or around your braces. It’s necessary to brush each tooth at the gum line and both above and below the brackets. Brush your gum line first, holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Next, clean each bracket individually by brushing at a downward angle on top of the brackets and brushing at an upward angle from the bottom of the brackets. Finally, rinse again once finished.
In addition to brushing, you also need to floss at least once a day. Make sure you not only floss between each bracket but also between your teeth as well. To make it easier for you to floss between your teeth, consider using a floss threader or an orthodontic flosser, which you can easily find at your local pharmacy. Waxed floss is easier to slide between your teeth and less likely to snag on your braces compared to unwaxed floss. As an extra precaution for preventing decay, you can also a water pick as part of your daily oral hygiene routine. A water pick will help to dislodge any food particles that become stuck to your bracket or underneath wires.
Be Mindful of What You Eat
While braces offer a wonderful way to improve the health and appearance of your smile, they do require to you be more aware of what you eat. Consuming too many sugary snacks or starchy foods can cause plaque to build up around the brackets of your braces, which can stain your teeth, cause cavities, and increase your risk of gum disease. You need to especially avoid sticky and chewy foods, liked corn, taffy, caramel, dried fruits, and gum, each of which can easily become stuck and be hard to remove from your braces.
Other types of food to avoid are the tough, hard, or crunchy variety. Foods such as popcorn, beef jerky, and nuts can break the wires of your braces and loosen the brackets. Even otherwise healthy foods like carrots and raw apples can cause problems due their hard texture. To eat these types of foods you need to either cut them into small bites or crush them down in size.
Other Helpful Tips While Wearing Adult Braces
If you don’t happen to have a toothbrush handy after eating, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water (or mouthwash) and brush as soon as you can. Also, if feel your braces or wires are poking or chafing the delicate interior of your mouth, you can place a special wax on them to prevent any uncomfortable chaffing. Just ask any member of our staff during your next visit to Senestraro Family Orthodontics and we’ll happily provide you with the wax.