Caring for Your Smile During Orthodontic Treatment
Now that you have braces, it is important to know how to properly take care of them in order to maintain a healthy smile and complete your treatment on schedule. At Independence Dental, we are as invested as you are in the success of your orthodontic treatment! That is why we have compiled some helpful information below on what to expect when living with braces and how to take care of your new orthodontic appliance.
Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
To keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment, follow these oral hygiene tips from a dentist in Plano:
- Rinse your mouth with water before brushing to knock loose any larger food particles stuck in your braces.
- Brush for a full two minutes each time and be sure to brush from every angle – including along the tops and bottoms of each bracket and wire.
- Brush gently, so you don’t damage your braces or wear away your tooth enamel.
- Flossing can be a bit trickier when wearing braces, but it is still important to clean between your teeth every day. Using a floss threader or soft pick can help.
Eating with Braces
Don’t worry, you can still eat many of your favorite foods while undergoing orthodontic treatment. However, you will need to take certain precautions and avoid any foods that could inadvertently damage your braces and lengthen your treatment time. Here are a few tips to follow to protect your teeth and braces.
Avoid these Foods
- Hard foods, such as whole nuts, crunchy granola bars and popcorn with kernels
- Hard candies, such as jaw breakers and cinnamon hearts
- Sticky sweets, such as caramels, gummy bears and licorice
- Never chew on ice!
Tips for Eating Certain Foods with Braces
- Cut meat off the bone
- Always remove the pits from fruits such as peaches and plums
- Cut hard fruits and vegetables (e.g., apples, pears, carrots) into pieces before eating
- Break hard bread rolls into smaller, more manageable bites
How to Handle Soreness
It is not uncommon for patients with a new set of braces to experience tenderness or soreness in their mouth at first. This discomfort is completely normal and should subside in due time as your mouth adjusts to your orthodontic appliance. Common over-the-counter pain medication can help make things more comfortable during your first few days wearing braces.
Your lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated during the first one or two weeks as they grow used to the braces. Dental wax can lessen irritation by covering brackets and protruding wires with a smooth surface until these parts of your inner mouth toughen up.
Playing Sports with Braces
Whether you enjoy regular pickup basketball games or just some casual backyard football, you can continue to participate in all sports and recreational activities while undergoing orthodontic treatment! Important to note is that any damage to your orthodontic appliance can increase the length of your treatment. For this reason, we recommend that you wear a mouthguard in order to protect both your teeth and your braces whenever you play sports. Ask Dr. Nastassia Ulasik about how to obtain a custom mouthguard designed to provide the ultimate protection for your mouth.