7 Tips For Living With Dental Braces
If you currently have braces or will be getting them soon, it's important to know how your life will change.
However, before you decide all is lost, take a deep breath and realize that while you may need to avoid certain foods or brush your teeth a bit more often, braces will offer you many benefits in the long run. Along with improved dental health, you'll soon find yourself with a smile that will have others in awe.
To make your life easier while you're living with braces, here are seven tips to keep in mind to ensure all goes well for you and your teeth.
Eat More Soft Foods
Especially important when you first get your braces, as well as each time you visit the orthodontist to get your braces adjusted, including more soft foods as part of your daily diet will make chewing much more comfortable. For best results, try including such foods as scrambled eggs, oatmeal, soup, pasta, ice cream, yogurt, and an occasional smoothie.
Avoid Certain Foods
While you should include more soft foods in your diet, you'll also need to avoid other foods that could damage your braces. In particular, foods that have to be bitten into should be avoided, such as corn on the cob, apples, and other hard foods.
Along with these, your orthodontist will recommend you cut down on sugary drinks such as soda and sweet tea. While you won't have to cut these drinks completely out of your diet, you should only consume them in moderation.
Don't Chew On Hard Objects
While hard foods such as apples and corn on the cob can damage your braces, chewing on other hard objects can do even more damage. For example, if you've been used to chewing on a pencil or pen in class or at work, eliminate this habit immediately.
Also, if you tend to chew your fingernails, stop this as well. If you don't, chances are you'll damage your braces, which can lead to expensive repairs and a longer treatment plan.
Brush and Floss After Every Meal
After each meal and snack, make sure you brush and floss your teeth to ensure you lower the risk of cavities and gum disease, and to also keep your braces as clean as possible. For best results, wait about one hour after eating to brush and floss.
For brushing, use an interdental toothbrush, which will clean between your teeth as well as around your wires and braces. As for flossing, use a floss threader, since this will let you get in and around your wires much easier.
Avoid Teeth Whitening Products
If you've been using whitening toothpaste or other whitening products prior to getting your braces, you'll want to avoid them until your braces are removed. If you don't, the areas of your teeth not covered by braces will be whitened, but the parts covered up won't be.
As a result, you'll have very noticeable spots on your teeth, which is something you definitely don't want to see when you look in a mirror after your braces are removed.
Check Your Braces for Damage
Even if you are being very careful with your braces, it's still a good idea to check them regularly for loose wires, bent wires, or other problems. If you find anything loose or broken, call your orthodontist immediately to schedule an appointment to have repairs made. If you are in a situation where you have no choice but to cut a wire before seeing the orthodontist, wash and then sterilize a pair of fingernail clippers in alcohol, but get to your orthodontist as soon as possible.
Create and Always Carry a Cleaning Kit With You
While it's very important to brush and floss your teeth after meals and snacks, this can pose a problem, since you won't be home all the time. Therefore, your orthodontist will usually recommend you create a cleaning kit that can be carried with you to work, school, or other activities.
To get the best results, make sure the kit contains a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, and lip balm. By having these with you no matter where you are, you'll have a much better chance of keeping your braces clean and in great condition.
While you'll probably wear your braces for a time period of 12-24 months, keeping these seven tips in mind during that time will ensure your treatment program will be a success.
Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist for Fastbraces. She regularly produces content for a variety of dental and health blogs.