If you know anything about braces, you know that there is definitely a learning curve when you first get them. Not only do you need to adjust to new habits and break old ones, but you also have to take responsibility for the outcome of your treatment! It might seem daunting at first, but it’s not difficult once you get used to it.
Dr. Moffett at Moffett & Walley Orthodontics has some tips that he shares with his patients about how to keep their teeth in excellent health through treatment. These tips will also help you save yourself some time, money, and effort by keeping your braces in great shape. Keep reading to learn more!
Embrace the Braces Diet
Have you heard of the braces diet? It’s not as scary as it sounds, promise. It just means avoiding a few types of foods while you’re in treatment in order to keep your braces and teeth safe. First off, it’s best to avoid any crunchy foods like popcorn, chips, hard taco shells, and the like. It’s also important to avoid biting into super hard foods like ice, apples, and carrots. An alternate option is to cut apples or other fruits and veggies into smaller bite-sized pieces.
It is also important for people with braces to avoid sugary or acidic drinks. Sugar can harm the enamel of your teeth, and acid can even damage the metal of your braces! Stay away from chewy and gooey candies, caramels, or gum that can get stuck on brackets. The list seems long, but it will be no time before you’re back to normal and all the work will be well worth the results!
Keep Up with Brushing and Flossing
Brushing and flossing will always be important no matter if you have braces or not, but it is especially important during treatment. This is because the bacteria that grow naturally in your mouth that feed on sugars and food particles have so many more nooks and crannies to hide in after getting brackets and wires. It’s also easier for food to get stuck and takes greater care and attention to scrub it out.
Start with brushing your teeth twice every day, and flossing once per day. It might take a little time to adjust to brushing and flossing with braces on your teeth, but with a little practice, it will be second nature. Here are a few tools we recommend that can help ensure that you are getting the healthy, clean mouth that you need when you brush and floss.
An interproximal toothbrush is a small tool that you can use to scrub under wires and between your brackets. It’s a small, cylindrical toothbrush scrubber that Dr. Moffett recommends all of his patients with braces use regularly. Plus, they can be handy to keep with you when you are out and about to do quick cleans after lunch!
Floss Threader & Waxed Floss
Some of our patients complain that flossing becomes a bit too tedious to keep up with once braces come on. We understand this sentiment, but it is essential that you maintain regular flossing to prevent tooth decay and cavities during and after treatment. The easiest methods to help are using waxed floss and a floss threader to weave the floss under each wire. The wax gives the floss a stiffer and more manageable consistency, and the threader makes it easy to go under and floss each tooth! As Dr. Moffett always says, it really does get easier with practice, so commit to the habit in order to reap the results of beautiful healthy teeth at the end of treatment!
If you are still really struggling with flossing despite the tools we mentioned above then it’s time to consider a water flosser as your second-best option! We recommend water flossers to many patients who are okay with purchasing the small hand-held device. It uses a small jet of water that you will guide between each tooth to push away debris and plaque that a brush might miss. It’s really effective at keeping your mouth clean and works well for many of our patients!
Use the Right Toothpaste and Mouthwash
There are a few other rules to consider when thinking about which products to use in your regular routine. Here are our recommendations:
No to Acid, But Yes to Fluoride
Be cautious about which toothpaste and mouthwash you purchase while you have braces as ones with added acids can cause problems for your teeth and braces. Acids can erode ceramic braces and rust metal ones, so it’s very important to keep an eye out. One thing you should make sure you are getting is plenty of fluoride in your toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride is one of the primary minerals that contribute to the strength of your teeth, and it’s a good idea to reinforce things while the braces are on.
While we have nothing against a bright white smile, it’s a good idea to save the whitening toothpaste and treatments until after the braces come off. Whitening toothpaste especially can bleach the parts of your teeth that are exposed, but leave the parts with brackets a different color, leading to some unsightly discoloration later on.
Keep Your Smile in Tip-Top Shape at Moffett & Walley Orthodontics!
If you are ready to dive into an orthodontic journey of your own, all you have to do is call one of our offices in Clinton or Madison to set up a free consultation appointment! It’s that easy to get in to see Dr. Moffett to craft the smile you’ve always wanted. We hope you give us a call soon, we can’t wait to see you then!