Over 4 million people in the U.S. wear braces and 25% are adults. Are you thinking of getting braces but worried about oral health? Or maybe you have braces and want to maintain good hygiene for your mouth?
In this article, you’ll learn all about brace care and making sure you’ll have a healthy mouth when the braces come off. Read on to discover these braces tips so you don’t hurt your oral health.
Braces for Adults
There’s a misconception that braces work better for children than adults. It’s never too late to get your teeth straightened or misaligned jaw in alignment. Some adults don’t get braces because they don’t want others to see their braces. If that’s the case, Invisalign is always a discreet option.
Benefits of Braces
Braces can correct many problems including straightening crooked teeth. Also, if your teeth are crowded which means they’re too close together, it’s harder to floss which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
If your teeth or jaw aren’t aligned properly it can make chewing more difficult which can later cause tooth loss. Problems with chewing can also cause pain when eating since it can tire out your jaw muscles.
Having straighter teeth can improve confidence since you won’t feel the need to cover your mouth when someone takes your picture. Some overbites can be so severe that it’s hard for someone to chew with their mouth closed which can lead to socialization issues.
When you have braces, brushing twice a day isn’t enough. You’ll want to brush your teeth after every meal or snack since food particles easily get trapped in your braces. The longer you keep that food trapped inside your braces, the more likely you are to develop dental problems.
Use a soft toothbrush with round bristles or an electric toothbrush. Begin by rinsing with water to loosen any food stuck between your teeth. Make sure you brush each tooth at your gum line and brush above and below the brackets.
When brushing your gum line, you’ll want to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Clean your brackets by brushing in a downward angle on top of the brackets, and an upward angle underneath them.
Rinse your mouth after brushing.
2. Cleaning Methods
Besides brushing you’ll want to floss as well. Make sure to floss at least once a day and get under the wires. If you struggle with getting the floss under your braces, use a floss threader along with your floss. Another option is a water irrigator which can get areas that are difficult to reach with floss. Finish up your cleaning process with a mouthwash.
If you don’t have a toothbrush nearby, swish with water or mouthwash and brush your teeth as soon as possible.
3. Visit Your Dentist
Make sure that your oral health is staying strong by visiting your dentist during the process. Regular check-ups and cleanings are vital for your oral health.
4. Be Mindful of What You Eat
Eating too many starchy or sugary foods can cause plaque to build up which can lead to gum disease, tooth staining, or cavities. Limit these foods for maximum oral health. If you’re eating foods like burgers and pizza, eat them with a fork and knife instead of biting into them.
Never bite into corn on the cob since they can loosen your brackets. Always remove the corn before eating it. If you’d like to eat fruits and vegetables such as apples and raw carrots, cut them into bite-sized pieces first.
Say no to sticky or sweet candies and gum since they can damage your brackets. If you’d like to eat a chocolate bar break it into bite-sized pieces before eating it. Since it’s sugar, you’ll want to eat it in moderation since it can cause cavities.
Foods that are hard such as popcorn, beef jerky, ice, and nuts can break your brackets.
5. Other Precautionary Tips
If your wires or hooks pop and poke you in your mouth, you can always buy orthodontic wax at the store and place that on the hooks or wires. Make sure to call up your Orthodontist and let them know about any wires or hook that are suddenly poking.
Make sure to stay on top of your Orthodontist appointments for regular follow-ups. Always follow exactly what your Orthodontist tells you for safety and maintenance of your braces.
Never bite your fingernails or chew on pencils or pens. These could cause your brackets to loosen. Also, never chew on your lips or press your tongue against your teeth.
When you go in to get your braces tightened, it’s normal for your teeth to feel a bit sore at first but the pain fades quickly. If they continue for a long period of time you’ll want to contact your Orthodontist.
6. Playing Sports with Braces
You can still play different sports with braces, but if it’s a sport you can get hit in the mouth, you’ll want to take extra precautions. Speak with your Orthodontist about different sports you play and inquire about a special mouthguard to protect your mouth.
The mouthguard is made out of plastic and fits over your braces. It will also protect the soft tissue around your mouth.
Oral Brace Care
After reading this article, you should have a firm grasp on brace care and making sure you maintain oral health. The more precautions you take plus brushing and flossing regularly, the higher the chances of a healthier mouth.
Would you like to get started on the smile you’ve always dreamed of? Contact us today to make your dreams a reality.