Many people experience the need for teeth straightening and jaw realignment. In the United States alone, more than 4 million people currently have braces, and around 25 percent of those are adults. Although braces are a typical procedure, many people have questions about their care.
While you have braces, your dental hygiene habits will need to become slightly more rigorous. You will need to start brushing after every meal and use mouthwash and dental floss at least once a day, if you don’t already. The extra brushing may seem excessive at first, but braces create crevices perfect for trapping food, which can lead to plaque and eventual tooth decay. Additionally, you want to care for the braces themselves.
Caring for Braces
1. Brushing. Of course, you have already been brushing your teeth. However, you need to tweak your brushing habits. Start by removing any elastics and removable parts. Use your toothbrush to start from the top of each wire to the bottom. Proceed by spending around 10 seconds cleaning each tooth.
2. Flossing and using mouthwash. Although you should already be flossing once a day, you need to continue this practice while you have braces. There are specialized flossing products on the market specifically designed for people with braces as well. You should also use mouthwash to help ensure that you are protecting your teeth the best you can against cavity-causing bacteria.
3. Visit the dentist and orthodontist regularly. Regularly visiting the orthodontist is the way in which you receive feedback on the current status of your braces. They adjust your braces and are who to talk to if you start experiencing pain that does not subside or notice any broken pieces in your braces. Your dentist can detect any sign of tooth decay and gum disease. They also help keep your teeth the cleanest they can be by performing regular hygiene treatments.
4. Avoid certain foods. Many hard and sticky foods can damage your braces, both the metal components and rubber bands. Some examples are gum, hard taco shells, fruits with pits, hard Italian bread, and pretzels. To avoid potential damage, you can cut the food into smaller pieces or eat softer foods.
Spending extra time and effort taking care of your teeth with braces can be daunting at first. However, it’s always a relief at the end of your time with braces to have perfectly healthy teeth and a great smile. Contact us if you have questions about keeping your teeth healthy while wearing braces.