How to Care for Your Braces

Nov 2, 2023 | Cosmetic Dentistry, Family Dentistry, Invisalign Orthodontics

A dazzling smile is something that many of us aspire to have, and for some, that journey involves wearing braces. Braces can correct misaligned teeth and bite issues, leading to a healthier and more confident smile. However, to achieve the best results, it’s crucial to care for your braces properly. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to care for your braces to ensure a successful orthodontic journey.

1. Oral Hygiene is Key

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is essential when you have braces. Braces create nooks and crannies where food particles can get trapped, increasing the risk of plaque buildup and tooth decay. To care for your braces effectively:

  • Brush Regularly: Brush your teeth after every meal and before bedtime. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and brush gently but thoroughly. Pay special attention to the areas around the brackets and wires.
  • Floss Daily: Flossing can be challenging with braces, but it’s crucial. Use a floss threader or special orthodontic floss to clean between your teeth and around the wires.
  • Rinse with Mouthwash: Use an antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash to kill bacteria and strengthen your teeth. Rinse thoroughly to get to those hard-to-reach areas.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with your orthodontist and dentist. They can help you address any issues and provide professional cleanings.

2. Watch What You Eat

Eating the wrong foods can damage your braces, prolong your orthodontic treatment, or lead to discomfort. Here’s what you should avoid:

  • Hard and Crunchy Foods: Foods like popcorn, nuts, hard candies, and ice can damage your braces. Avoid them to prevent broken wires or brackets.
  • Sticky and Chewy Foods: Taffy, caramel, and gum can get stuck in your braces, making them challenging to clean. These foods can also pull on your braces and cause damage.
  • Sugary and Acidic Foods and Beverages: Sugary and acidic foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay and erosion. Limit your consumption of soda, sports drinks, and candy.
  • Cut Food into Smaller Pieces: When eating fruits and vegetables, cut them into smaller, more manageable pieces to reduce the risk of damaging your braces.

3. Protect Your Braces During Physical Activities

If you play sports or engage in physical activities, it’s essential to take extra precautions to protect your braces:

Mouthguards: Consider wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect your braces during sports. Your orthodontist can provide one designed specifically for your needs.

Orthodontic Wax: Sometimes, the wires or brackets can irritate your cheeks, lips, or tongue. Applying orthodontic wax can provide relief from these discomforts.

4. Be Mindful of Habits

Certain habits can be harmful to your braces. Here’s what you need to watch out for:

  • Chewing on Pens and Pencils: Avoid using your braces as a tool to chew on pens or pencils, as it can damage them.
  • Nail Biting and Chewing Ice: These habits can also be detrimental to your braces, causing wires and brackets to break.
  • Tongue Thrusting: If you have a habit of thrusting your tongue against your braces, try to be conscious of it and avoid it as it can affect your treatment.

5. Deal with Discomfort

Braces can be uncomfortable, especially in the first few days after getting them and after adjustments. Here are some tips for managing the discomfort:

  • Orthodontic Wax: Use orthodontic wax to cover any sharp or rough spots on your braces that may be causing irritation.
  • Over-the-counter Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers, like ibuprofen, can help with the discomfort caused by braces. Always follow the recommended dosage.
  • Cold Compress: If your mouth is sore, applying a cold compress to the outside of your cheek can reduce swelling and provide relief.

6. Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions

Your orthodontist is your best resource for caring for your braces. Follow their instructions carefully, including when it comes to:

  • Brace Adjustments: Attend all scheduled appointments to have your braces adjusted.
  • Elastics: If your orthodontist prescribes elastics, wear them as directed to help with the alignment of your teeth.
  • Rubber Bands: If rubber bands are recommended, make sure to wear them as instructed for proper bite correction.
  • Retainers: After your braces come off, you may be required to wear retainers. Follow your orthodontist’s guidelines to maintain your results.

7. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Wearing braces can sometimes be a challenging and lengthy process. However, maintaining a positive attitude throughout your orthodontic journey can make it more manageable. Remember the end goal – a beautiful, healthy smile – and stay committed to your care routine and orthodontic appointments.

8. Embrace the Rewards

Caring for your braces diligently can lead to incredible rewards:

  • A Beautiful Smile: The most obvious benefit of braces is achieving a beautiful, straight smile that boosts your self-esteem and confidence.
  • Improved Oral Health: Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease.
  • Enhanced Chewing and Speaking: Correcting misaligned teeth can improve your ability to chew and speak effectively.
  • Better Overall Health: A healthy mouth can have a positive impact on your overall health, as it reduces the risk of systemic health issues related to oral health problems.

Caring for your braces is an essential part of your orthodontic journey. Proper oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and following your orthodontist’s instructions will lead to a successful outcome. While it may require some effort and adjustments to your daily routine, the rewards of a beautiful, healthy smile and improved oral health are more than worth it. Stay committed to your care routine, and remember that the discomfort and challenges you face along the way are temporary. In the end, your radiant smile will be the ultimate reward.

Consult a Trusted Orthodontist

Salling and Tate Dentistry is your trusted partner throughout your braces or clear aligners journey. If you have any additional queries regarding the maintenance of your braces, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced dentists! The Salling and Tate team is readily available to respond to your questions and provide expert guidance every step of the way. Reach out to us today by calling 910-256-9040, or simply click here to conveniently schedule your next appointment online.