Did you know that Beyoncé once rocked braces?
Even if you’re a wealthy celebrity, dental braces are a major investment. It’s crucial to take good care of your teeth and prevent damaging or disrupting your braces. A few months of discomfort is a small price to pay for a lifetime of perfect smiles!
Are you concerned about making mistakes with wearing braces? Need a refresher on some behaviors and foods to avoid?
Check out these seven mistakes you could be making and how to avoid them!
1. Skimping on Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene is important for everyone. Hopefully, you maintained good oral health before getting braces, but improving dental health is especially important after your new bling is put in place. Poor cleaning habits can lead to gum infections, tooth decay, or yellowing of the teeth around your braces.
Brush your teeth at least twice every day, or after every meal if possible. Flossing with braces can be slightly more difficult, but it’s crucial to remove plaque from your teeth and braces. Carefully use a wire brush and dental pick to clean behind your braces and between your teeth.
2. Not Brushing Your Braces
In addition to taking care of your teeth, you need to take care of your braces themselves. Food, plaque, and bacteria buildup can make it hard to eat and speak properly. Not to mention, you can develop some nasty breath from a poor braces care routine.
While you’re brushing your teeth, pay special attention to the brackets and spaces between the wires. Food can easily get stuck in these places, especially the “banned” foods which we’ll dive into next.
3. Eating Risky Foods
For the sake of beautiful, healthy teeth, you may have to forego some of your favorite foods for a while. Tough, sticky, and crunchy foods can easily snap your brackets or pull wires loose. Dangerous food for braces includes:
- Ice cubes
- Chewing gum
- Hard candy
- Sticky candy
- Apples and crunchy vegetables
- Bagels, pizza crusts, and tough rolls
- Shelled foods like nuts and sunflower seeds
Sugary foods are never ideal for your teeth, but they can be especially problematic for people with braces. Having braces makes it harder to remove all of the plaque buildup, which can lead to yellowing teeth and tooth decay. Try to limit your candies and sodas!
4. Chewing on Objects
We shouldn’t be the only ones to have to tell you this, but please, only put food in your mouth. Chewing on pen caps, erasers, straws, fingernails, or anything else is a surefire way to damage your braces and potentially harm your teeth.
In general, you should avoid touching your braces as much as possible except for regular daily cleanings. Avoid putting anything in your mouth that could dislodge a bracket, bend a wire, or harm your teeth. As always, give your orthodontist a call as soon as possible if any accidents happen.
5. Attempting Your Own Fixes
Oops, you’ve disobeyed some rules, and now you’re staring down a broken bracket in the mirror. Superglue is not the same thing as dental adhesive.
Attempting to fix your braces at home, no matter how minor the damage, is never a good idea. Most likely, you won’t be able to put the parts exactly back where they go, and you’ll risk swallowing pieces or scraping your teeth and gums in the process.
Instead of rummaging around for screwdrivers and superglue, give your orthodontist a call. We promise we won’t be mad at you for bending the rules (or your wires). We’d rather you talk to us before creating any further damage!
6. Ignoring Your Retainer
Ghosting is rude; don’t ignore your retainer after you’re done with braces. Don’t let all of your hard work and discomfort go to waste. Years of careful alignment can be undone within a few months if you forget to wear your retainer.
Follow your orthodontist’s specific instructions regarding your retainer. You’ll need to wear your retainer every day for some time, and gradually shift to wearing it only at night. Most people should wear their retainer every night for at least a year, but many may continue to wear it longer.
Make sure to rinse your retainer several times a day with warm water to remove bacteria and buildup. Don’t use toothpaste to clean the retainer. To disinfect your retainer, soak it in distilled water with baking soda or a dental tablet.
7. Skipping Orthodontist Appointments
One of the worst mistakes you can make with your braces is not taking them seriously. Although temporary, braces are a serious commitment. As such, you need to be willing to schedule and arrive at your orthodontist appointments.
Skipping your regular braces appointments can make the whole alignment process longer and less effective. At every appointment, your orthodontist will assess your teeth and make small adjustments to keep them moving in the right direction. Skipping your appointment means that your braces won’t get the adjustment they need and your teeth could be moving in the wrong direction.
Regular appointments are also important for addressing and preventing damage. You may not even realize if one bracket is loose or bent, but your orthodontist will. Prevention is the best protection for braces!
Avoid Mistakes With Wearing Braces
Getting braces is a big decision, but it’s a worthwhile process if you’re willing to take care of your teeth. Remember to maintain good oral hygiene, avoid potential dangers, and call your orthodontist with any questions. When in doubt, you can always count on us to look out for your teeth!
Do you have more questions about mistakes with wearing braces? Ready to take the next steps toward a brighter smile?
Contact Wardlaw Orthodontics to discover more and book your consultation!