TAKING CARE OF YOUR BRACES
Most emergencies are avoided simply by avoiding foods that are hard and crunchy, or sticky and chewy. Avoid: Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, pizza crust – anything you have to pull at while biting Crunchy foods: hard nuts, hard candies, ice, thick chips Sticky foods: caramels, skittles, starburst, gum – NO gum Foods you have to bite hard into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots Nail biting can also damage or loosen braces. This may cause treatment to take longer.
Proper care and good oral hygiene are critical for the success of your orthodontic treatment. Brushing and flossing take a little more time when braces are attached to the teeth. Here are some tips when it comes to brushing and flossing:
Brush between the braces and gums. Plaque accumulates where your toothbrush cannot reach. Most of us will brush the edges of our teeth, and on top of the braces. Brushing above the upper braces, and below the lower braces will help keep plaque levels low, and thus reduce the risk of white spots.
White spots are areas of demineralization of the tooth enamel. This is simply the beginning of a cavity. It becomes white as the tooth becomes more porous under the enamel surface. The white spot is a result of light penetrating deeper into the tooth, giving the area of demineralization a lighter appearance than the rest of the tooth. Unfortunately white spots do not go away, so the best way to manage white spots is to never allow them to develop. They are 100% preventable with proper oral hygiene!
Flossing will help keep your gums healthy. Adequate plaque removal is critical not only for the teeth, but for the gums as well. If the gums bleed while brushing and flossing, then they are not getting cleaned adequately or frequently enough! Flossing is tricky while in braces. There are many products out there to assist with this task such as water picks and orthodontic flossers. Flossers assist with getting floss under the wires in order to clean between the teeth down to the gumline.
A more convenient method of cleaning between the teeth while in braces is the use of a Waterpik flosser. The American Dental Association has just awarded Waterpik the ADA Seal of Acceptance as based on its finding that they are safe and have shown efficacy for removing plaque along the gumline and between teeth and for helping to prevent and reduce gingivitis. This is why we now offer the Waterpik Cordless Advanced and Aquarius Professional Series Waterpiks in our office.
Proper care of your teeth and braces will go a long way. It will help you achieve the beautiful smile you deserve within the predicted timeframe!