At any given moment, there are about 4 million Americans wearing braces, with a solid 1 million of those patients being adults! Braces cannot only help bring a person greater confidence through a straighter smile, but they can also help treat common oral health problems such as over- or underbites and crowded teeth. The length of time any individual needs to wear braces will vary greatly from person to person, however most people find that it takes a bit of time to get used to life with these new metal brackets on your teeth. If you or your child is new to wearing braces, read on to learn a bit more about how you can best care for this investment in your smile!
Be Careful with Your Snacks
Unfortunately, there are certain foods that will just never get along with braces. While some foods can be made easier to eat by cutting them into smaller pieces that are easier to chew, other foods just don’t stand a chance. It’s best to avoid foods that are:
- Overly hard or difficult to chew, like carrots, bagels, and licorice
- Particularly crunchy, like popcorn and ice
- Sticky foods, like caramel and chewing gum
- Tough and hard foods, like hard pretzels and nuts
- And foods you have to bite into, like corn on the cob and apples
Brushing and Flossing
Your daily routine of brushing your teeth and flossing will become slightly more complicated while wearing braces, but with time and practice it should become second nature! You can start off brushing by using your normal toothbrush and brushing at both a downward and upward angle above and below the brackets on each tooth. A 45-degree angle should provide the best way to get in between the brackets and your teeth to clear debris. Your orthodontist may also recommend getting a proxabrush (sometimes called a Christmas tree brush) to clean between brackets more thoroughly. Use this by inserting it between two brackets, first from the top and then from the bottom, and moving it up and down to clear out and food or other particles. Finally, to floss you will have to carefully feed one end of the floss in the space between the wire and your gums, and gently floss around each side of your teeth. Take extra care when flossing to not damage the wires of your braces. Even though flossing with braces can be time consuming, it is a vital step of any oral health routine and shouldn’t be overlooked! As with most things in life, you will get better at it as you practice, and you should find flossing gets easier and easier every day.
Braces take a bit of adjusting to for anyone, but over time you will find that caring for your teeth while wearing braces becomes second nature!
If you have any questions about how to maintain your smile while undergoing orthodontic treatment, or simply to schedule your next appointment, give us a call at Anew Dental & Orthodontics in Plainfield today!