Living with Braces: How to Care for Your Braces
Although modern technologies have made braces much more bearable, convenient, and comfortable, living with braces will pose some challenges and changes. They will change the feeling in your mouth, and impact the way you eat and clean your teeth. Life with braces comes with a number of changes that you need to be aware of.
Caring for your braces can seem tedious but neglecting good oral care can lead to serious health problems. Caring for your braces is not only necessary for good oral health, it can also help reduce the amount of time your braces need to be on and lead to a more pleasant treatment process.
When you take on the responsibility of having braces, there are important lifestyle changes that will have to take place. In order to prepare you, we have shared some important factors that come with having braces:
Eating With Braces
There are certain foods you will have to remove from your diet once you get braces because they can impact your treatment and increase the amount of time your braces will be on for. This is particularly true for metal and clear ceramic braces, whereas Invisalign allows you to remove your aligners when you eat and therefore you do not have to cut out as many of the same foods.
During your treatment, we recommend avoiding hard and crunchy foods since they can loosen, damage, or even break your wires and brackets. Sticky and chewy foods are less dangerous, however, they can easily get stuck in your brackets and cause discomfort if it is left for a long period of time.
These foods require more cleaning and more effort to clean due to the nature of the food and can eventually lead to decay if cleaned improperly. In addition, you should avoid foods you need to bite into, like apples and corn on the cob, unless they are cut into proper bite-size pieces.
Foods You Should Avoid
Here are a few foods that you should avoid when eating with braces:
- Bagels and hard crust from bread
- Hard candy
- Toffee and caramel
- Meat on the bone
Eating these types of foods can increase your risk of damaging wires and can make it extremely difficult to clean between the brackets. Nutrition plays a huge role in maintaining oral health and braces, and reducing the amount of hard and sticky foods that you eat will help speed up your treatment process.
Cleaning Your Braces
Cleaning your teeth is extremely important with braces, as food particles can get stuck in your teeth and braces. If left enough, this can create plaque and cause build up that will lead to decay, gum disease, and in extreme cases, tooth loss. Brushing and flossing are the best ways to clean your teeth with braces.
You will want to make sure you brush your teeth at least three times a day, after each meal. You may be fine with a light snack, but brushing after each time you eat is a great way to make sure you keep your teeth clean.
While you have braces, it’s best to use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Make sure you use circular motions to get food in all areas of your tooth and around your brackets. Make sure you take a couple minutes to brush and that you thoroughly brush all of your teeth and the braces.
You should try to floss at least once a day, but if you can manage to floss everytime you brush – with each meal – that would be the best way to maintain hygiene. Dental floss will help you get to food particles and plaque that are between teeth and stuck in awkward places on your braces, including the brackets and wires.
Be gentle when flossing around your wires so that you don’t pull them out. Be more firm and use more force between your teeth and against your brackets to ensure you get them clean.
Pain or Discomfort with Braces
In general, you will experience some discomfort from braces no matter which type you get. They will irritate your gums and potentially cause pain. When you first get them on they cause the most irritation.
Over time, this pain and irritation will fade as you get used to the braces. When you adjust them they cause pain and irritation, but it goes down with time, usually only lasting a few days.
Wires and brackets can cause irritation of your gums as they rub against your mouth. There are a number of ways to combat this, mainly by putting something in between. Cotton swabs and pieces of wax are the most common ways of doing this.
Unanticipated accidents can occur with braces, and we are always here to support and help you through it. Usually, accidents are not emergency situations, but you should always inform us as soon as anything happens with your braces.
Although it may seem like a small issue, even the slightest alterations to your braces can have a big impact on your teeth and progress. Contact us when you an orthodontic emergency and we will get you in as soon as possible to help set things right!
That being said, having an appliance loosen or break is relatively common and is not a cause for alarm. This happens fairly often and can usually be easily fixed without long-term repercussions if reportedly quickly.
As you can see, life with braces presents a number of challenges that you should be aware of. Our team is happy to answer any questions you have while living with braces and the lifestyle changes that take place. Schedule your next appointment today to find the best treatment for you!
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