Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you! Braces from Smith & Smith Orthodontics can provide you with that beautiful smile that makes other people take notice!
While a beautiful smile is an obvious advantage of orthodontics, straight teeth can be healthier, too. If teeth are well aligned, they can be easier to brush and floss which reduces the risk for gum disease and cavities.
Oral Hygiene with Braces
If braces are not kept clean, cavities can develop on teeth and gums can become infected. Oral hygiene and proper brushing and home care are absolutely critical for successful orthodontic treatment. Dr. Smith and the entire team at Smith and Smith Orthodontics take brushing very seriously, and work hard to provide you with education and motivation. There is nothing better than seeing a beautiful smile the day braces are removed, and the better the brushing, the better the smile!
Brushing with braces requires more time (five minutes at least twice a day) and requires holding the toothbrush at several different angles. Using a side-to-side scrubbing motion, you will want to angle the bristles towards the gums, place the bristles directly over the brackets, and then angle the bristles towards the edges of the teeth. This ensures that every surface of the bracket and the tooth is cleaned.
Flossing can be challenging, but we offer the Platypus orthodontic flossing system, which makes flossing super easy. Electric toothbrushes can be a huge help, and Dr. Smith recommends the Oral B Pro 3000.
Braces are great at moving teeth, but unfortunately, they are also great at collecting food. It definitely takes more time to get braces clean, but with a good toothbrush, patience, and some hard work, you can keep your teeth and braces completely clean!
Eating with Braces
You will want to avoid eating very hard foods, since these can cause a bracket to de-bond from the tooth. Regular-consistency foods (sandwiches, cheeseburgers, pizza, most fruits, and vegetables) are totally fine. Apples and carrots should be cut into slices, and carrots should be likewise be sliced.
Most broken brackets come from hard, sticky, chewy candy. If you have a sweet tooth, stick to chocolate. The occasional plain M&M, Reese's cup, or Kit Kat is just fine. Just remember to brush afterwards!
The first few days after you get braces, don’t be afraid to eat food that requires chewing—it is better to go ahead and exercise those teeth with chewing, which helps reduce soreness faster.
Common sense will be your best friend when it comes to choosing the right foods when you have braces. Just think about what you're eating, and don't abuse the braces.
Protecting Your Braces
Wires, bands, brackets may become loose due to eating hard or chewy candy, chewing ice, or chewing on pencils or pens. If wires or brackets are loose, then your braces are not working properly. This translates into increased treatment time. Since no one wants to spend more time in braces than necessary, it is very important to take good care of and not abuse your braces.
If you play sports, we offer mouthguards that fit over your braces. This can help prevent injury to your mouth, lips, and teeth. Dr. Smith recommends the Shock Doctor® brand of mouthguards, which are designed to fit over braces.
Dealing with Discomfort
Orthodontic tooth movement is always associated with soreness. However, we strive to minimize that soreness. We use high-tech archwires, which exert very low force on the teeth. We also use brackets that are as comfortable as possible to lips, tongue, and gums. For most kids, the soreness only lasts two to three days after braces are placed and can be controlled very well with OTC pain reliever. Discomfort after routine archwire changes is usually minor.
If you ever have questions about the best ways to take care of your teeth, braces, and appliances, don’t hesitate to contact our Sanford orthodontic office and speak with a member of our team!