Braces ease crooked or uneven teeth back into alignment over time, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing smile. While the end result will last a lifetime, the process of caring for and living with braces can definitely take some time to get used to. When you first get braces, the first few days are usually a little awkward. Patients are advised to eat soft, easy to chew foods that won’t get stuck in the wires or under the braces during this time and to get used to caring for new dental equipment.
Regular brushing is important for everyone, but those with braces need to take extra care to get food particles out from between the braces and teeth. Teeth should still be flossed, and a smaller toothbrush can be used if needed. Mouthwash can help with any dryness or breath odors, but clean, healthy teeth should be a priority.
One of the downsides with braces is that some foods will stick to braces and cause damage. Therefore, to avoid issues, you should avoid foods that are overly sticky or tacky or that could become lodged in or under the wires. Common food culprits that can cause damage to braces include:
- Sticky, chewy taffy or gum
- Hard to bite foods like crisp apples or raw carrots
- Ice, if chewed
- Crisp snacks like hard pretzels, tortilla chips and granola bars
- Corn on the cob (can be cut from the cob and safely consumed)
Dental care with braces can easily take about twice as long as before, so be prepared to invest extra minutes into your dental care routine and adjust it accordingly. But don’t worry. the healthy results of your smile will be worth the effort! To make caring for your teeth a little easier, use a reusable floss threader or special floss made for use with braces. This specialty floss has a stiff part on one end of each individually-cut strand, which acts as a threader. Whichever method you use for inserting the floss, make sure it’s waxed floss. Why? Unwaxed floss is more likely to shred on braces wires, leaving bits of thread stuck between your teeth.
Brush your teeth thoroughly and rinse your mouth before starting your flossing routine. This will remove much of the food particles in your mouth and leave only the pieces stuck underneath the braces and in between the teeth. The fact that you’re wearing braces means that you care about having a healthy smile. Adding flossing to your daily dental care routine is just one more way to ensure that smile will be around for a lifetime!
In this Morrison Dental Health Minute, MEC Instructor, Deborah, talks about braces and the best way to take care of them!