An estimated 4 million people have braces today – adults and children. While braces can cause discomfort, they do the hard work of straightening your teeth and fixing mouth problems.
Because of this, it’s important to care for them! Having to redo your treatment due to ignoring the care of your braces can be costly and time-consuming.
But what are some ways to take care of your braces? Continue reading to find out so you can keep both your braces and teeth healthy.
What Are Braces?
Over the years, braces have evolved somewhat, but the traditional metal braces with wires are still a preferred treatment today.
Braces not only align crooked teeth, but they can correct jaw alignment as well. Most children will receive braces when they become teenagers, but adults can get them as well.
Having braces does much more for your teeth than improve the look of your smile. Crooked teeth and other jaw problems can make it difficult to chew or talk, so braces improve the overall function of your mouth.
7 Ways to Take Care of Your Braces
When you’re caring for your braces, it’s vital to know the do’s and don’ts so they stay in great condition and so you continue to have healthy teeth during your treatment.
If you’re wondering how to care for your braces, here are some braces care tips.
1. Keep A Regular Oral Routine
Oral hygiene should be your number one focus when it comes to caring for your braces. Because of the metal brackets, you will need to be more mindful and careful about how you brush your teeth. Generally speaking, you can keep your oral routine, but there are a few things to be aware of.
Before you begin brushing, you can get a head start by rinsing your mouth out with water.
Brushing your teeth may be the most tricky part to get used to. Because food can become trapped in the brackets you’ll need to commit to brushing your teeth after every meal to ensure all food particles are removed.
Start brushing at the gum line, then move to brush the top part of the brackets and then brush upwards to get all of the particles out. Rinse again after you’ve brushed for a full two minutes.
Flossing is still encouraged, but regular floss will no longer work with braces. To floss with braces, you’ll need a floss threader that will work between the wires.
2. Use Utensils
When you bite into foods, there’s a chance that your braces may break or food may become stuck and difficult to dislodge. Another way to protect them is to use a fork, spoon, and a knife while eating.
Using a knife, fork, or spoon keeps food from getting stuck in the brackets and makes brushing easier.
3. Watch What You Eat
You may think that you can continue your regular diet while you have braces and to some part this is true. But there are foods you should avoid.
Sticky foods, like caramels or other hard candies, have the potential to harm the brackets and wires.
It’s also wise to avoid excessive amounts of sugar as well because if you don’t brush well, the sugar can cause the teeth to stain or begin decaying due to plaque build-up.
Crunchy foods can also become stuck in the brackets and since it’s harder, it could ruin your brackets.
4. Keep Your Dentist Appointments
Your dentist still needs to see you for regular cleaning and check-ups. These cleanings are important for the health of your teeth.
5. Do As Your Orthodontist Says
For some people, your braces may need extra rubber bands, headgear, or expanders to fix problems with the jaw. Make sure you’re following the directions exactly to keep your treatments on track, even though it can be very uncomfortable.
6. Pay Attention
Biting your fingernails or not being careful when you play sports are all ways that your braces could become damaged. Be aware of what you’re doing so you don’t damage your braces any further and prolong your treatment.
7. Playing Sports
The good news is that if you have braces, they won’t hinder you from playing! However, there are precautions you can take.
Ask your dentist or orthodontist about using a mouthguard when you play. A mouthguard will protect your braces and your mouth so there’s no injury or damage. Your dentist can provide you with more information.
Problems With Braces
Despite your best intentions, sometimes brackets and wires do break. In that case, what should you do?
The best course of action is to contact your orthodontist immediately to have it repaired. Using a little bit of dental wax to cover the sharp area or place where it’s broken can keep you from getting injured. If you’re playing sports, and your bracket breaks or you get a cracked tooth, you need to take an emergency trip.
If you find your brackets or wires become loose (this sometimes happens!) call your orthodontist office to schedule an appointment to have it tightened. Ignoring these types of problems only leads to bigger problems and expenses later on.
There are many ways to take care of your braces and each one should be practiced if you are to complete your treatment without any large problems. Make sure you keep up with your appointments and your treatment will pass quickly!
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