Obviously wearing braces will make you look a little different, and your mouth might feel a little strange. But are there any other changes caused by braces? Let’s find out.
The way you brush, floss and care for your teeth
Taking care of your teeth will become a little more difficult once you have braces. This is because there are now a large number of small spaces in your mouth that can trap food in your braces. If the trapped food is not thoroughly removed, it can lead to a build-up of plaque. Most people find plaque build-up around their brackets very common, as it’s tricker to brush.
Like your normal tooth care routine, you’ll need to brush your teeth regularly, floss at least once a day and regularly rinse with mouthwash. This is not new. But the way you do these things will change.
You’ll need to brush your teeth a lot more carefully to thoroughly remove plaque build-up. To do this, you’ll have to remove your elastics and any other removable parts of your orthodontic appliance. The ideal way of brushing is to brush each tooth individually, holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gumline. Brush gently, as if you were trying not to bruise a tomato, as you don’t want to damage your gums or your braces. Next, use a circular motion to brush all your inner and outer tooth surfaces. The whole process should take you around two minutes. Follow with a rinse with mouthwash.
You’ll also have to brush your braces to remove debris and plaque build-up. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and clean around all the wires and pins, from the top to the bottom.
All this means is that you’ll need to take more time on your oral hygiene. To make things easier, you could consider using an electric toothbrush specifically designed for use with braces. A smaller toothbrush with softer bristles that won’t be too hard on the wires and brackets is ideal. Also consider a special toothpaste that will effectively kill the bacteria in the spaces between your brackets.
Flossing can also be more of a challenge with braces, and is recommended once a day. You’ll really need to be diligent, as it’s very easy for food to build up between your teeth and in your braces. It’s best to get your dentist to show you the best way to floss when you have braces. You can also use specially designed products (such as a floss threader) to help make the process easier.
For the period of time you have braces, there are certain foods that it’s wiser to avoid. Your braces can’t withstand as much force as your teeth can. Certain foods can damage your wires and brackets, and are more likely to get trapped in your teeth or braces. It’s best to avoid foods that are:
- Crunchy or hard (e.g. hard lollies or apples)
- Sticky (e.g. chewing gum or candy)
- Chewy (e.g. dense bread or pizza crust)
You may not want to avoid all these foods for the period of time when you have braces, so if you must eat them, be smart about it. Cutting your food up into small pieces may mean the difference between breaking a bracket, or simply enjoying your food. Biting into a whole apple may cause damage to your brackets, but eating bite-size pieces is probably fine. Consuming all your food in smaller pieces is a good idea when you have braces, even if the food is not problematic. This just means that your teeth and braces won’t have to work as hard, and you’re less likely to cause a problem.
There are a few habits you’ll need to break once you have braces. Habits such as grinding or clenching your teeth, using your teeth as tools or chewing on non-food items such as pens or your nails, can all cause damage to your braces. Don’t do these things, and speak to your dentist about ways to help you break problematic habits.
Also, a good habit to get into is to check your braces both before and after you brush your teeth. Check that you’ve done a good job removing all the food, and also that your braces are intact and in place.
You’ll become a regular at the dentist
You’ll get to know your orthodontist fairly well over the next year or more, as regular orthodontist visits are a must. Your braces will need to be adjusted on a regular basis. As well, you’ll need to have regular check-ups with your usual dentist. This will allow your dentist to check for signs of gum disease or cavities early on, so that they don’t become a bigger problem. Your dentist may also offer fluoride treatments to give your teeth extra protection while you have braces.
Read more about orthodontics procedure and aftercare here: https://www.lentinidental.com.au/blog/orthodontics-procedure-and-aftercare/