Braces have the power to completely change a person’s life. A straighter smile can make you more confident and improve your oral health! However, braces also change your life in one other way: they put MAJOR limitations on what you can and can’t do while you have them.
Too often, we see orthodontic patients who choose to ignore the rules for protecting their braces. In a way, we get it. No one likes being told what to do – and no one wants to hear that they can’t eat popcorn or gum for several months! But if you want your braces to be effective, comfortable, and clean, you need to follow our guidelines… or AT LEAST these five rules!
Brush (and Floss) More Often
The ADA recommends that people brush their teeth twice a day: once in the morning, and once before bed. Typically, this is enough to keep your teeth healthy and clean – but if you have braces, you will need to put in a little extra effort.
Food can get stuck in your braces very easily, which can lead to cavities and tooth decay if left there too long. Therefore, people with braces should consider brushing three to four times each day (ideally, after every meal) and flossing regularly with a dental pick or threader. This will help remove pesky food particles that stick to your brackets and keep your teeth looking their best all day long.
Replace Your Brush Head
Over time, every toothbrush becomes a little worse for wear. The bristles become worn down and frayed, making them less effective at cleaning your teeth. This is why dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush head every three months – but once again, people with braces have a different set of guidelines to follow.
Your braces with put extra strain on your toothbrush head and cause the bristles to fray faster than normal. You should replace your toothbrush head every two months during the time you are wearing braces, as this will ensure you have the best brushing experience possible.
Firstly, this is rule applies to everyone. You should always stay hydrated; it’s good for your health! But when you have braces, drinking water is also an effective way to clear your mouth of food particles and bacteria that might be clinging to your brackets.
Keep a reusable bottle of water with you as often as you can. Drink from it throughout the day, swishing the water around your mouth before you swallow. This will help dislodge any food in your braces (which helps your smile look more attractive) and removes bacteria and plaque from your teeth.
Avoid Sticky Foods
Ok. This is the hardest rule to follow, and we know it. Who would turn down toffee, Starburst, licorice, and gum? These treats are delicious and hard to resist… but they’re also VERY risky to eat with braces.
If you suck on a sticky candy, you are bathing your mouth in sugars and acids. Do you know who LOVES sugars and acids? The bacteria that causes cavities! These bacteria will flock to those sugars in your mouth and feast, causing all kinds plaque buildup that can be hard to scrub off around your braces.
Also, sticky foods can get attached to your brackets and even pull them off (they are “sticky,” after all). If you don’t want to risk damaging your braces, it’s best to avoid these foods altogether.
Visit Your Orthodontist
Finally, it is very important to keep up with your regular orthodontist visits. Your orthodontist will be able to monitor your progress and make sure your teeth are straightening properly – but he or she can’t do that if you’re not there!
If you need to schedule an orthodontist appointment, call Meadows Dental Care today!