How to Take Care of Braces

So you have decided to wear braces to align and straighten your teeth. That is a good choice, but you should know the right ways to take care of braces to avoid dealing with any possible complication. Once you get your braces, your normal teeth habits are not going to work anymore.

You will find it difficult to floss your teeth with those brackets and wires in place. It may also be difficult to reach your entire tooth using the same old brush. And of course, food particles may stick to those braces, putting you at an increased risk of cavities, decay, and tooth stains. Let's find out how you can avoid all these issues.

How to Take Care of Braces

You can find several tips and tricks to keep your braces and teeth in great condition. Here are some suggestions.

1.       Use Proper Brushing Technique

Under normal circumstances, brushing twice a day is usually enough to keep your teeth in perfect condition. Things will be different when you wear braces. Now, you should be brushing every time you eat. It is important even if you eat something late-night or anytime during the day. Whenever you eat, food particles will become trapped in your braces. You cannot afford to leave them trapped for long enough or you will end up developing serious dental problems.

Get a soft toothbrush with round bristles to clean your teeth. You should start by rinsing your mouth – this helps loosen food particles in and around the braces. Then, brush your teeth thoroughly – brush at the gum line as well as above/below the brackets. While brushing your gum line, keep your brush at a 45-degree angle. Then, move on to the brackets and maintain a downward angle while brushing. You should change the angle when you reach at the bottom of the brackets. Finish by rinsing your mouth once again.

2.       Floss Your Teeth with Care

Wonder how to take care of braces? Just like brushing, you will also have to learn to floss your teeth with braces. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Take an 18-inch long piece of floss and place it above the space between your two teeth. Now, gently slide it under the wire until it is half way through. Carefully hold both end of the floss and slide it up and down between your teeth.
  • Slide the floss a few times or until you hear a squeaking sound. Then, move on to the gum line.
  • To floss your gum line, start by turning the floss into a 'C' shape and continue flossing. Do not forget the area below the gum line – use a soft up/down motion to floss this area.
  • Once done, thread the floss under the next wire and continue the process. Be very gentle when flossing around the archwire.

If you’re still not clear about how to brush and floss with braces, here is a video to help: 

3.       Keep Your Lips Moist

It is common to feel your lips a bit too dry soon after getting your braces fixed. Using some lip balm may help, but you will have to use it quite often to get good results. Therefore, you should consider keeping lip balm in your pocket, purse, locker, or backpack to keep using it after short intervals.

4.       Be Careful with What You Eat

It is important to watch what you eat when you have braces attached to your teeth.

  • You will be better off avoiding starchy and sugar foods to lower the risk of dealing with plaque. Plaque around the brackets can easily lead to staining of the teeth, which will eventually lead to gum disease.
  • Similarly, you may want to avoid chewy and sticky foods, such as caramel, dried fruits, chewing gum, or corn on the cob. If stuck, you will have a hard time removing these foods from braces.
  • Hard foods should also be avoided. Anything like ice, nuts, beef jerky, and popcorn can increase the chances of damaging your braces – they can break the wires and loosen the brackets. If you really want to eat crunchy food, it is better to cut it into small pieces first.

5.       Practice Care When Playing Sports

It is important to learn how to take care of braces when engaging in sporting activities. You may want to avoid any sports with higher chances of getting hit in the mouth. If you really want to play, be sure to wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth and braces. The mouth guard is made of plastic and can easily be placed over your braces for added protection.

6.       Handle Broken Wires or Brackets

Loose bands, broken braces, or protruding wires can cause all sorts of problems. You may even require emergency treatment in rare cases. If your wire or bracket breaks, you should at least schedule an appointment with your orthodontist to find a more permanent fix.

Here are a few tips to help you learn how to take care of braces and deal with more common issues:

  • Loose Brackets: Take orthodontic wax and use it to attach your brackets back to your gums. You need to use a small amount of wax only. You can get the wax from your orthodontist.
  • Broken Wire: You can use the eraser end of a pencil to move the protruding wire in a more comfortable position. Apply some orthodontic wax over the wire to make it less bothersome. Never try to cut it because it can cause problems. Rinse your mouth with a saline solution if you develop a sore because of a broken wire.
  • Loose Bands or Spacers: You will have to replace the bands if they become loose. Just keep the band with you and arrange a visit to your orthodontist's office. The same is the case with loose spacers, as they have to be replaced or repositioned by your orthodontist.
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