Tips for Living with Braces
Hearing that you or your child needs braces to straighten teeth or correct an orthodontic issue can cause some anxiety. Some adults and children have cosmetic concerns about how the braces will look on their teeth or are worried about how braces will impact their daily life. Living with braces might take some getting used to, but the lifelong effect on your healthy bite and smile are well worth it! Follow some simple tips to make living with braces a breeze.
Take It Easy During Transitions
When you first get your braces or when you have your braces tightened or adjusted, stick to soft foods like pasta, soups, smoothies, and eggs. Cutting your food into smaller bites will also help you to chew without discomfort. Harder foods that require a lot of jaw strength and movement might cause you to become uncomfortable while chewing or otherwise make it hard to eat. Stick to softer foods for a few days after you get your braces or during any transition period.
Brush Well and Often
Everyone should brush at least daily with an interdental toothbrush. Regularly brushing your teeth is even more important while you’re wearing braces to prevent food or plaque from getting caught between your teeth or in your braces themselves. Trapped food can cause cavities and tooth decay if it isn’t removed quickly, so be sure that you’re brushing at least daily or even after mealtimes at home (like breakfast and dinner). If you can, brush after every mealtime for ultimate care and comfort.
Avoid Chewy, Crunchy, Sticky, and Hard Foods
While you’re wearing braces, you’ll want to avoid certain foods. These foods can cause problems ranging from discomfort to potential trapping in or damage to your braces. You’ll want to avoid super chewy foods like licorice and bagels, crunchy foods like chips and lollipops, sticky foods like Skittles and Starbursts, and hard foods like certain hard candies and nuts. Your orthodontist will be able to answer any questions or soothe any concerns about missing out on your favorite foods. And if you do decide to indulge, make sure you proceed with caution and brush your teeth right after.
Avoid Whitening Toothpaste, Strips, and Other Agents
If you’re wearing braces, you’re well on your way to a beautiful smile. It’s natural to want bright, white teeth for a picture-perfect smile – but people with braces should avoid whitening agents and treatments. Because your braces brackets are bonded to your teeth, the whitening agents will not reach the area under them. If you use whitening treatments or other agents, you might be surprised with a two-tone smile when your braces come off. Brushing your teeth regularly will help keep them clean and bright – but you should wait until your braces treatment is finished to use whitening toothpaste, strips, or other treatments.
Use a floss threader and floss to keep your teeth clean and to help keep your braces clear of any trapped food or plaque. Combined with brushing, flossing is the best thing you can do for your oral hygiene and health. Flossing regularly will keep your teeth clean and prevent cavities, tooth decay, and bad breath!
Be Prepared with a Travel Oral Hygiene Kit
No matter where you go, be prepared to care for your teeth and braces. Tuck an oral hygiene kit into your purse, backpack, or work bag so you can always brush and floss after meals. Include an interdental toothbrush, floss and floss threaders, toothpaste, and a toothpick. Anywhere you can excuse yourself to a restroom is a good place to care for your teeth and braces. And being prepared means you’ll never miss an opportunity to keep your teeth and braces clean!
Great Smiles at Hodge Orthodontics
Hodge Orthodontics is a multiple award-winning practice that puts your oral health and happiness front and center! Our caring team will provide expert consultation on when braces are the right treatment and how to live with braces for the duration of your treatment plan. Call or visit us today to set your consultation appointment!