Caring for Teeth with Braces

Teens often get braces to correct crooked or overcrowded teeth. There are many benefits of having braces – a better smile, straight teeth, boost in confidence, better dental function and better health. However, there are many things you should do to maintain braces if you are wearing them.

When you are wearing braces, there are tiny spaces between the braces and wires. Food getting lodged here can cause decay and enamel stains. These foods can also cause a bleaching effect on the teeth, causing small but permanent light spots on them.

It is recommended that teeth and braces be cleaned after every single meal. Brush after every meal and use a special floss for people wearing braces, at least once a day to clean under the wires and between the braces. If no toothbrush is available, rinse your mouth thoroughly after a meal.

The wires of your braces are tightened during every visit to the dentist. This may cause some pressure and discomfort on the mouth and teeth. Eating soft foods for a few days to a week after putting them on, usually helps and taking a mild painkiller can subside pain as well. If your braces rub against the inside of your lips, try using a special wax on the wires which will prevent chafing. You can get this at the drugstore or your orthodontist’s office.

Some food should be avoided when wearing braces. Sweets, soda and other sugary and starchy foods, which can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Chewy and sticky food such as caramel, chewing gum and dried fruits can stick to your braces and are not easy to remove. Hard foods such as candies, nuts, ice and popcorn can break your wires and loosen the brackets. Instead of biting on carrots, apples and other crunchy foods, cut them up into smaller pieces.

Visit your dentist regularly so that your wires can be maintained!