As a young child there are few things that are worse than hearing that you’ll have to get braces. For children, braces mean getting made fun of at school and not being able to eat numerous types of foods (all that candy that will go to waste!). When you’re young it’s hard to think beyond the immediate, and the fact that braces will improve your quality of life in your later years isn’t something immediately on your mind. Once those pesky braces are taken off, however, then even children can see the positives of having them. Not only do braces straighten teeth, making them look better, but they also improve oral health by ensuring that any teeth that grow in won’t be jammed by other teeth in the mouth. Having a wisdom tooth come in when there are already teeth in its place, for example, can be an incredibly painful experience.
Braces do provide some benefits down the road, but only if they are cared for properly. So whether you have braces yourself or are planning on having them put on one of your children, here are ten tips on how to care for your braces.
1. No ice. The first four tips revolve around preventing issues with your braces. By simply avoiding some foods you’ll ensure that your braces don’t break. If they break or a bracket pops off, then you lose valuable time when they could be working. The more times they break, the more you have to get them fixed and the longer you’ll have to wear them. For these reasons, avoid ice at all costs.
2. No spinach. While spinach certainly won’t damage your braces, it will get caught all over them and leave you looking less than your best.
3. No hard candy. Like ice, hard candy has the capability of breaking a bracket as soon as you put it in your mouth. Avoid it while you have your braces on.
4. Stay away from sticky foods. Sticky foods can get stuck on the wires and pull them out, putting you behind schedule.
5. Fix brackets immediately. If a bracket breaks, get to your orthodontist immediately to get it fixed. The longer you wait the longer you’ll have to wear them.
6. Don’t play with them. Playing with your braces can cause them to break.
7. Keep your tongue where it belongs. Your tongue is the single most destructive force to braces. Keeping it where it belongs means protecting your braces. It’s that simple.
8. Brush them after every meal. Listen to your orthodontist and brush your teeth after each meal. In fact, anytime you eat something you should be brushing your braces afterwards. This will protect your braces, keep you from getting infections in your mouth, and ensure that you’re getting all food debris off of your teeth.
9. Use mouthwash regularly. Mouthwash is great because it can kill bacteria in areas where your toothbrush can’t reach. Braces get in the way; mouthwash gets around them.
10. Always floss. Just like your dentist tells you, regular flossing is essential when you have pieces of metal in your mouth.