Over 4 million people in the United States are currently wearing braces. They are effective in correcting overcrowded, crooked, and misaligned teeth. If you’ve just gotten new braces, you may be realizing that they require more care than you thought. Eating certain foods has become a challenge and brushing and flossing feels like a hassle. Luckily, your dentist in Uptown New Orleans shares some tips that will make life with braces much easier.
Choose Your Tools Wisely
Brushing and flossing is an important part of everyone’s dental hygiene routine. It is especially crucial for people who have braces in New Orleans. Because it’s easier for food to get trapped in your teeth, you must do a thorough job cleaning them to reduce your risk of developing cavities. Consider these helpful tools:
- Soft-bristled toothbrush: Brush above and below braces at a 45-degree angle. This will help you clean underneath the brackets and wires. Soft-bristled toothbrushes scrub your teeth without risking damage to your enamel.
- Interproximal brush: These are small brushes that can help you remove plaque and food in hard to reach spots, like around the brackets in the back of the mouth.
- Floss threader: Flossing can be more difficult when there is a wire in the way. This is where floss threaders come in handy. The loop helps to thread the floss behind the brackets so you can floss just like you normally would.
Be Careful What You Eat
You definitely need to be more aware of what you’re eating while you have braces. If you eat too many sugary or starchy foods, plaque can build up around the brackets, eventually leading to staining, cavities, and gum disease. Consuming too many hard, chewy, and sticky foods can damage wires. Here are a few foods that you should stay away from while you have braces:
- Corn on the cob
- Beef jerky
If you want to eat crunchier foods, like apples or carrots, cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces to avoid the likelihood of damaging the wires.
Renounce Your Bad Habits
If you have habits that are harmful to your oral health, like nail biting, chewing on pens or pencils, or crunching on ice, this is a great time to stop. Any of these habits can cause the wires in your mouth to bend, become loose, or break. If your braces become damaged, the treatment will take longer.
Use Orthodontic Wax
If you notice any wires or brackets poking or irritating your cheeks or gums, use orthodontic wax to cover up the problem spot. It can be molded in a way where it acts as a barrier between your braces and soft tissues. Next time you visit your dentist, let them know about any discomfort you have. If something is causing you a significant amount of pain, give them a call.
Braces certainly take some getting used to. Following these tips and the instructions from your dentist is the best way to ensure that you will have a smooth treatment so you can reap the benefits of your perfected smile as soon as possible.
About the Author
Dr. Robert A. Camenzuli has many years of clinical experience and has completed advanced training for a wide variety of different treatments and procedures. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry and is a Senior Master Provider for Fastbraces®. For more information or to schedule a consultation, visit his website or call (504) 895-3400.