Having braces and being under regular dental care does not mean you can or should slack on your dental care at home. Braces will attract food and plaque which can lead to cavities and stained teeth if proper care is not taken. Taking extra good care of your teeth can also shorten the length time you have to have your braces on for. Please read the following tips and follow them diligently to make the most of wearing braces and bringing out your most beautiful smile.
- Use a soft round-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste twice daily.
- Brush well following each meal or snack. If you forgot your toothbrush, at least rinse with water.
- Brush all surfaces of your teeth and around your braces using medium pressure.
- Clean the edges of your gums and tongue also.
- Proper brushing should take 3-5 minutes when wearing braces.
- How can you tell you’re doing a good job? Your braces will appear clean and shiny, and you can see the edges of the brackets easily. Metal will appear dull when brushed poorly.
- Braces will wear your toothbrush out more quickly, so be sure to replace it as soon as you notice it wearing down.
- Use a floss threader every night. Floss threaders are reusable tools that will help you to get the floss under the wires.
Probably one of the hardest things about having braces is giving up one or two of your favorite snacks, but there are always healthy alternatives to whatever it is you are craving.
Foods to avoid while wearing braces:
- Foods that require hard biting: corn on the cob, carrots, ribs, chicken wings, apples
- Hard foods: hard candies, nuts
- Chewy foods: pizza crust, French bread, bagels, licorice
- Sticky foods: gummy candy, gum, caramel
- Crunchy foods: chips, ice, lollipops, pretzels, popcorn
Here are some soft foods you can enjoy all the time, especially when your mouth is sore:
- Fruits: berries, smoothies, juice, applesauce, bananas
- Meat: meatballs, lunch meat, tender meats
- Dairy: pudding, yogurts, cottage cheese, other soft cheeses, milk-based drinks
- Grains: rice, pasta
- Vegetables: beans, steamed veggies
You may also find it possible to occasionally enjoy your favorites on the “no” list by opting for softer versions of these items. For example, thinner crust pizza and thinner chips such as Pringles are better choices. Cashews, pecans, and walnuts are all softer nuts to consume as well.
Activities to Avoid:
- Nail biting
- Chewing on hard items such as pens or ice cubes
For Musicians and Athletes:
- Wear a mouth guard during sports. One of our orthodontists can recommend the proper type to fit over your dental appliances.
- Liberally using wax and salt water rinses will help musicians to toughen their lips and cheeks, experience less sores, and find proper lip position.