How to Maintain Your Braces
Braces are something that many people use to get a more beautiful, straighter smile. But while braces are designed to provide minimal hassle to the wearer on their journey to the smile of their dreams, you can’t exactly continue to live your life as you did before your braces went on. Braces require upkeep and care if you want them to perform to their highest efficiency.
But what exactly do you need to do differently when wearing braces? What is the correct way to maintain your braces?
Oral Hygiene and Your Braces
We all know that oral hygiene is important. Proper brushing and flossing keeps bacteria in the mouth to a minimum and can prevent tooth decay or gum disease. But when you have braces, the need for proper oral hygiene habits can increase.
Braces provide more spaces and crevices for food to get stuck in. They can make it more difficult for our toothbrush to reach the area around or gums and flossing can be a hassle with the metal bars in the way. Furthermore, the metal of the braces can cause a bleaching reaction on the teeth if not properly taken care of. If you want your braces to be removed to reveal a beautiful smile, you’ll need to properly clean your teeth, the area between your braces, and the gaps between your teeth.
Although proper oral hygiene habits can be slightly difficult with braces, they are still incredibly important – possibly even more so. Talk with your orthodontist about the best way to clean between your braces or if they have special tools to help remove all the unwanted food and bacteria.
Listen to Your Orthodontist
With each visit to your orthodontist, you will probably be given more or a new set of instructions on how to maintain your braces. This may include the use of rubber bands or other additional items created to help give you the results you’re after.
Take your orthodontist’s instructions seriously and follow through with everything you are told. While the extra step of care may seem unnecessary to you, it is a crucial step to ensuring your braces are doing their job and that they are staying on schedule.
Your orthodontist may also give you advice on how to better take care of your braces, such as new ways to clean them or recommendations for getting in hard to reach areas. While you may think your orthodontist is just being overly precautious because it is their job, they do know best.
Follow a Braces-Friendly Diet
Maintaining your braces can also come from eating a diet that won’t do damage to your teeth or the braces themselves. This usually means avoiding things that are high in sugar, high in acidity, or extremely sticky or tacky items that may pull some of your braces right from your teeth – a problem that is a hassle for everyone involved.
High sugar foods, such as sodas and candy, increase your risk of developing tooth decay. While sugar should be avoided with or without braces, because your braces make it more difficult to efficiently clean your teeth, you’re more likely to leave bits of sugar behind. If the sugar is not properly removed, your teeth may experience the consequences.
Highly acidic foods can damage your tooth enamel. Like sugar, your braces can make it difficult to remove the food completely from your teeth. While you have your braces on, it is best to stick to foods with low acidity, including bananas, milk, water, and eggs.
Choose a Mouth Guard
Playing a high contact sport with braces can cause damage to your braces, teeth, and mouth if you’re not properly protected. If you should be hit in the mouth by a ball or other player, you could break your braces, cut your mouth on the metal of the braces, or even cause damage to your teeth.
The use of a mouth guard can help protect you and your braces from any flying balls or flailing limbs. While a mouth guard purchased at a sports store would be better than nothing, a custom made mouth guard from your orthodontist can provide the best level of protection and comfort.
Not all sports would require a mouth guard. If you are involved in low contact sports such as swimming, cross country, or certain track events, you may not need a mouth guard even if you have braces. However, players of high impact sports, including football, soccer, and hockey should definitely use a mouth guard for protection.
Your braces are there to give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of having, but in order to get there, you need to put in the work to maintain them and keep your teeth healthy. With proper cleaning, protection, and care, you can have your braces removed on time to reveal a beautiful and healthy smile underneath.
Fix Your Smile Today
Contact Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics today to set up your consultation. There’s no reason to put off a visit to our helpful team of professionals. It is our goal to help you make the most of your smile.
When your teeth are aligned properly and your jaw is flowing smoothly, you will find more reasons to flash those pearly whites every day. Let Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics be your partner in good oral hygiene.
Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics
900 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 200, Larkspur, California 94939 415-459-8006
Dr. Jasmine Gorton, a Bay Area native, graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor degrees in both Integrative Biology and Social Sciences and then went on to graduate from Harvard with honors for her Doctorate in Dental Medicine.
She continued her education at UCSF with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Growth and Development, followed by an Orthodontic Residency with a Master of Science in Oral Biology.
She is Board Certified in Orthodontics. She received the American Association of Orthodontics Award for Craniofacial Research and the Harvard Odontological Society Award for Excellence in Research. Her work on preventing decay around braces has been published in the American Journal of Orthodontics.