Braces can provide you with a beautiful, straight smile. While you have them on, however, your oral hygiene can become more involved, and if you don’t care for your teeth properly, can lead to decay or disease. Following a few tips can allow you to enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile when your braces are eventually removed.
If you have just had your braces applied, your mouth is going to be sore. Your gums, cheeks and tongue may have sore spots as your mouth adjusts to the brackets, bands and wire. Have some dental wax on hand. Blot the problematic area with a tissue – the wax won’t stick to a wet surface – and press a ball of wax over the bracket or band, between it and your cheek or tongue. This will provide a smooth surface that will protect the surrounding soft tissues. Treat any minor swelling or pain with over-the-counter pain medications that contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Certain foods must be avoided altogether while your braces are in place. Popcorn, ice, hard candy or other hard or overly crunchy foods should not be consumed. Chewy candies or hunks of thick bread or fruit can become problematic and can tear off brackets or dislodge wires. If you have bad habits such as nail biting or pen or pencil chewing, now is the time to stop. Don’t damage your braces with these habits.
Braces can be very difficult to clean, and food debris may remain following normal brushing. It is vital that you maintain – or begin – good oral hygiene habits after the application of your braces in order to maintain optimal oral health. Brushing and flossing must be continued. A waterpik tool can be very useful in reaching hard-to-reach areas between brackets.
Be sure to follow all of the instructions provided to you by your orthodontist. Wear rubber bands or headgear as recommended. Following these guidelines can help your orthodontist give you the best smile in the least amount of time.