Caring for Oral Braces

November 4th, 2010
Caring for Oral Braces

Braces are worn by people who want to improve the alignment of their teeth and enhance their natural beauty. It’s true, braces are a method to achieve a ‘perfect smile,’ and although the end goal is generally aesthetic, it is important to remember that in order for braces to have a lasting effect, they must be properly cared for.

Properly caring for your braces means scheduling and attending regular visits to your orthodontist. Your appointments should be scheduled about every six weeks to ensure that your teeth are moving correctly and that there are no problems and interferences.

Although you are not able to normally floss your teeth when wearing traditional metal braces, it is important to keep the space between your teeth as clean as possible. Talk to your orthodontist about receiving a wire cleaner, a tiny Christmas-tree shaped bristled brush that slides between each bracket and can be used to brush small particles of food from the tops of the brackets.

Regular, thorough brushing is also essential to maintaining proper hygiene while wearing braces. Since some orthodontists forbid the use of electric toothbrushes while wearing metalwork, it might be ideal to invest in a water pick. A water pick is a handheld hose that sprays a powerful blast of water over your teeth. The stream of water helps to dislodge any trapped food that might be difficult to reach from traditional brushing.

When you first receive your braces, your orthodontist will tell you which foods you may eat and which foods to avoid. Generally, avoid tough, sticky foods such as toffee and chewing gum. Popcorn should be avoided because the kernels can become entrapped in the brackets and wires. Also avoid biting down on particularly hard foods and get in the habit of cutting up fruits such as apples and melons into bite-size pieces.

Overall, it is important to maintain a consistent stream of scheduled appointments with your orthodontist during your treatment. Interrupted treatment can prolong your projected completion time and can be costly.

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