When it’s a matter of teeth straightening, orthodontic braces are the most effective solution for children and adults alike. There are various types of braces available to suit different dental needs, lifestyles, and preferences, but they all need a certain amount of care and upkeep in order to function quickly and effectively.
Caring for Your Orthodontic Braces
Here are 5 simple tips to help you look after your braces the right way:
1. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene – You need to brush and floss your teeth regularly, but oral hygiene is especially important when you’re getting orthodontic treatment. Food particles and plaque collect in and around the wires, bands, and pins, so you need to clean your braces and teeth thoroughly.
First, remove elastic bands and other removable parts. Clean around wires and pins, moving from top to bottom and holding your brush at a 45-degree angle. Clean inner and outer surfaces of your teeth next, using gentle pressure and circular movements. Floss daily with a floss threader or other braces-friendly product.
2. Regular Orthodontist Visits – While wearing braces, you need to visit an orthodontist for regular adjustments. When braces are first fitted and after each adjustment, some discomfort is normal. Consult your orthodontist if it persists or gets worse, or if your orthodontic appliance gets damaged.
You should also get frequent dental checkups to keep tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues at bay. A dentist can give you professional advice for oral care, as well as perform treatments that offer extra protection to your teeth and gums till your braces come off.
3. Eat Braces-Friendly Foods – Follow your orthodontist’s instructions about what foods to eat and what to avoid. Hard or crunchy foods can damage the wires and brackets of your braces, while sticky and chewy foods could get stuck between your teeth and braces, allowing bacterial plaque to collect and raising the risk of dental problems.
In addition to what you eat, watch how you eat. Cut your food into small pieces so you don’t have to bite as hard, and chew with your molars or back teeth to reduce discomfort. Eat as slowly as possible, and focus on your food to avoid small bones, pips, seeds and other potential threats.
4. Wear Protective Gear – If you have braces and play sports or have a child who does, wearing a mouth guard on both top and bottom teeth is important. This helps to protect your orthodontic appliance as well as teeth, gums, and mouth from damage during games and practice.
For better protection during sports, get a mouth guard that’s custom-made by your dentist and designed to fit your teeth and braces perfectly. If you’re wearing invisible braces, you can choose whether to leave them in or take them out before putting in a mouth guard.
5. Change Inter-Arch Bands – Not to be confused with the colorful or clear ligature bands that connect adjoining teeth, interarch bands are the rubber bands that connect your top and bottom teeth together.
You should remove inter-arch rubber bands every day and replace them with fresh ones since they face the maximum pressure and stress on a daily basis. Remove them right before you brush or floss, so they don’t come in the way while you’re cleaning your teeth and braces.
You may need to put in a little extra time and effort on oral care while wearing braces, but it will all be worth it when your braces come off and you have straighter, more even teeth than before!
Author Bio: Dr. Satish Pai – an Ivy League trained dentist and a faculty at Columbia University, believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great while boosting confidence. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics, he is dedicated to not only creating perfect smiles for his patients but also educating people with his engaging articles about all things related to a perfect smile and oral health. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing.