Getting braces is exciting and overwhelming. On one hand, you’ll soon have perfectly straight teeth. On the other, you’ve got a mouth full of metal that needs special care. They also make it trickier to keep your teeth clean.
But, don’t worry. Caring for braces is super simple.
6 tips for taking care of your braces:
1. Brush and floss.
This is important for everyone. But, it’s especially important if you have braces. Food and plaque can get trapped between your teeth and braces. If you don’t remove it daily, it can cause cavities and even stain your teeth.
Prevent problems by brushing for 2 minutes, twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle, apply gentle pressure, and move the brush in a circle. Be sure you get above and below your braces. Then, use an inter-ortho (cone-shaped) brush to get in between your brackets.
Your toothbrush doesn’t remove everything. Floss with a threader (found at drug stores) to clean between your teeth and under wires at least once a day.
2. Visit your dentist.
Yep! Routine dental check-ups and cleanings are important while you have braces. Your orthodontist helps straighten your teeth. Your dentist is there to make sure they stay healthy during your treatment.
3. Use a fork and knife.
Biting into your food causes it to get stuck in your braces (so embarrassing) and hard foods may damage the wires and brackets. Use a fork and knife to eat foods like burgers and pizza. Cut the corn off of the cob before you eat it. Slice crunch fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, into bite-sized pieces.
4. Choose chocolate.
Sticky sweets, hard candies, and gum can damage your braces. Chocolate is a soft, delicious option that dissolves quickly. It’s the perfect choice when you’re craving something sweet. Just consume in moderation. And remember, break large chocolate bars into bite size pieces.
5. Be mindful.
Common reasons for loose or broken brackets are unconscious habits like fingernail biting and chewing on pencils or pens. Try to catch yourself and replace the habit with a fidget spinner or stress ball.
Remember: the more you damage your braces; the longer you’ll have them.
6. Listen to your orthodontist.
Elastics aren’t fun. Headgear isn’t comfortable. And expanders make it hard to talk. But, the discomfort is only temporary. Your treatment planned is designed to get your teeth in proper alignment as safely and quickly as possible. Listen to your orthodontist and follow their instructions.
Want more tips?
Talk to your dentist or orthodontist. They're experts in these types of things.
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