For many kids growing up, the experience of braces is an oh-so-common memory. However, proper dental hygiene becomes even more important when these appliances are installed. Caring for them requires a lot more than simply brushing and an occasional floss. Here are a few tips to help you or your teenager take proper care of their braces.
Brushing and Flossing with Braces
According to KidsHealth, it is good practice to brush after every meal as well as floss at least once a day to clean between braces and underwires. A toothbrush with a soft head and fluoride toothpaste will do the trick. Remember to be gentle with the floss. Thread it carefully between the tooth and wire, and work it slowly back and forth between the teeth and brackets. Floss threaders are really helpful to have for this task and are readily available in most drug stores. After flossing, it is important to thoroughly check your teeth in the mirror to make sure that all food particles are gone. Any remaining particles can become lodged in your brackets —or even worse, encourage plaque growth. In the event you are out and about and don’t have your toothbrush with you, rinse your mouth vigorously with water in order to dislodge any pesky food particles.
Foods to Avoid
Generally speaking, people wearing braces should avoid sticky, chewy, or hard foods. Sticky or chewy foods can get lodged in your brackets while crunchy foods can damage or snap wires or brackets. Stay on the safe side and try your best to avoid these things while you have your braces in:
* Hard foods, such as apples, popcorn, or ice
* Chewy foods, such as Skittles, Starbursts, or gum
* Ice chewing or nail-biting
When Trouble Strikes
Some things can’t always be avoided and you might find yourself with a bracket or wire that has come loose for some reason or another. In this instance, you need to see your orthodontist immediately to have it fixed. In the meantime, you can apply orthodontic wax to reattach the loose bracket or cover up a wire that is sticking out. This is only a temporary fix, so be sure to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist to have these pieces fixed correctly.
Even though life with braces can be a little difficult at first, the end result of a beautiful smile makes it all worth it. Until then, giving extra special attention to your mouth will only make for an even better reveal when you finally get your braces removed. If you or a loved one are considering braces, set up an appointment with your dentist at The Dental Care Center.