According to Humana, “For decades, dental braces have helped patients develop healthy smiles. Over 4 million people in the U.S. wear braces, and 25% of these individuals are adults.” Here at Greenspoint Dental in Houston, we also offer Houston orthodontics services. Whether you need braces for yourself or your child, our dental experts can help you choose the best orthodontic treatment for your oral needs.
Once you have your braces and are on the way to receiving a straighter, lovelier smile, there are some things you need to do to take care of your braces and teeth. It would be a shame for you to take your braces off only to discover you need to correct other dental issues. By following these ten care tips for people with braces, you will be ready to celebrate and smile widely on the day your braces come off.
- Watch What You Eat
One of the most important care tips for people with braces is to watch what you eat. It is particularly important to avoid eating sticky foods because they can get stuck to your braces and teeth. If they are stuck, you risk plaque building up around your braces and staining. Additionally, you want to avoid eating hard foods because they can loosen the brackets and break the wires on your braces.
Here are some foods you should avoid with braces:
- Sticky and chewy candies (such as caramel or chewing gum)
- Popcorn (due to the kernels)
- Raw, hard vegetables (such as carrots)
- Crunchy snacks
- Whole raw fruit (such as apples)
- Tough meat (such as steaks)
- Brush More Often
Houston dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. But that’s for people not wearing braces. If you have braces, you will need to brush more often. Essentially, you want to brush after you eat every single time (including after snacks). Colgate explains, “That’s because food particles easily become trapped in the braces, and the longer those particles stay trapped, the greater risk you have of developing dental problems.”
It is also important that you brush your teeth the right way. You need to make sure to brush each tooth and to go above and below each bracket at a 45-degree angle.
- Up Your Flossing
It is also important to maintain your flossing habit when you have braces (or start the habit now if you haven’t flossed regularly before). Floss once a day going between the braces and under the wires. Here are some flossing tips for braces: Invest in floss threaders because they will make it a lot easy to get under and around your braces. And, stick to waxed floss because it won’t get caught as easily on your braces as unwaxed floss.
- Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions
Your Houston orthodontist is the expert when it comes to straightening your teeth, so it is wise to follow his or her recommendations. This means if your orthodontist suggests you wear headgear at night or wear rubber bands daily, then you absolutely should! They have your smile in mind and aren’t just trying to torture you. And, by all means, go to your scheduled appointments!
- Use a Fork
While we already talked about the types of foods you should avoid, we haven’t talked yet about how you should eat with braces. Even if you cut all the foods we suggested from your diet, you still have to be cautious when it comes to eating. For example, even healthy foods can hurt your braces. That’s why we recommend always using a fork and a knife when eating instead of biting into food directly. So, when you eat pizza, cut it into pieces and eat it with a fork.
- Break Bad Habits
If you have a nail-biting habit or chew on your pencils, now is the time to stop. Bad oral habits like these are harmful to your braces. They can damage your braces, such as loosening or breaking brackets. And, the more damage you do to your braces while wearing them, the longer you will have to wear them. That should be a good motivation to break the bad habit.
- Visit Your Dentist
In addition to seeing your orthodontist regularly, you also want to keep up with your regular dental checkups and cleanings. While your orthodontist is paying close attention to your teeth’s alignment, it is not his or her job to check your teeth for health issues. Your dentist can examine your teeth and perform a professional cleaning. Some people with braces may need to visit their dentist more than every six months.
- Get the Right Tools
You don’t have to run out and purchase all new dental tools when you get braces, but there are some dental tools that will make taking care of your braces a whole lot easier. For example, floss threaders make flossing easy and there are even special brushes (such as a cone-shaped, inter-ortho brush) that make it easier to get the hard to reach spots. Additionally, many people with braces find it beneficial to purchase an oral irrigator, which uses pulsating water to remove plaque and food.
- Take Pain Relievers as Needed
Many brace wearers are surprised to discover they are sometimes in pain after a visit to see their orthodontist. This is normal after they are first put on and after each adjustment. However, the pain tends to be minimal and does not last long. You can try drinking something cold or eating ice cream to find relief. Or, you can take a pain reliever, such as Tylenol.
- Wear Your Retainer
Last but not least, taking care of your brace-free teeth doesn’t end when the braces come off. It is critical to wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist. The retainer will help prevent your newly aligned teeth from shifting back to their original locations.
Interested in braces? Contact Greenspoint Dental in Houston today!