How we take care of our braces really impacts our experience with them.
As parents we all want our children to have good. For many parents, this means getting our children needed braces. However, as any parent who has had to get their child braces knows: Getting the braces are just the first part. Properly caring for them is the next. I am excited to have Dr. Sheila Harris guest posting on my blog today sharing tips for taking care of braces for a better overall experience for our children. ♥ The Quiet Grove
For parents and kids, the decision to get braces is an important one. Braces elevate self-confidence by enhancing your smile. They can also help improve a number of dental issues, including crooked teeth, overlapping teeth and teeth that are spaced too far apart. While it’s easy to see how beneficial braces can be for your child’s teeth, it’s just as important to understand how to care for them in order to avoid problems and delay in treatment. Here are five tips you need to know about taking care of braces to ensure the best possible experience.
Ease pain and discomfort. When braces are first placed, it is common for your mouth to be sore and tender, especially when biting down. While you adapt to your new braces, you can ease the pain by rinsing with a warm-saltwater mouthwash. Wearing wax over the brackets can also reduce irritation to your lips and cheeks until they become accustomed to the new surface of the braces. For discomfort that won’t go away, over-the-counter pain medications may also be recommended. Rest assured that after a few days of wearing your braces, your mouth will adapt to your newly placed or adjusted appliances and discomfort will lessen.
Practice good oral hygiene. The importance of daily effective brushing and flossing while wearing braces cannot be overstated. That’s because when you wear braces, your teeth and gums are especially susceptible to cavities and gum disease. If possible, always brush after you eat to remove debris and bacteria from between teeth and underneath wires and bands. If you can’t brush immediately following a meal, swish with water to dislodge food particles that cause plaque buildup. Talk to your orthodontist about special brushing and flossing tools that help make effectively caring for your teeth and gums easier while wearing braces.
Be mindful of what you eat. Certain foods can damage or break your braces, so you will want to pay attention to what you eat while undergoing orthodontic treatment. As a general rule, hard, chewy, sticky and crunchy foods should be avoided. This includes foods like popcorn, caramel candies, chewing gum, corn on the cob, ice, nuts, and hard bagels or crusts. Similarly, you will also want to stop bad habits like biting your nails or chewing on pens when you are wearing braces. These habits can loosen your brackets and bend wires, which can add months to your treatment time.
Protect your braces and your mouth. Kids can still participate in sports while wearing braces. Just remember to protect your teeth and appliances by wearing a protective mouth guard. A blow to the mouth during a game of football will not only break your braces, it can also cause serious pain and harm to your teeth, gums and soft tissues in your mouth. Your dentist or orthodontist can help you decide on the best protection for your teeth. Many even create custom-fitted mouth guards right in their office.
Address damage to your braces right away. Braces are very durable, but that doesn’t mean they are indestructible. Despite your child’s best efforts to avoid damage, the wires, brackets and bands can loosen or snap. Damaged braces don’t function properly, which can cause interruptions in the orthodontic treatment process. Always call your orthodontist right away if your braces break or are no longer functioning as they should. The sooner a problem is corrected, the sooner your child can get back on track with treatment.
Taking good care of your braces and achieving great results with orthodontic treatment go hand in hand. By following these simple tips and discussing all problems to your orthodontist as soon as possible, you can guarantee a great braces experience and beautiful results at the end of the treatment process.
Author bio: Dr. Sheila Harris is the owner of Natomas Crossing Dental Care in Sacramento, California. Dr. Harris has been a licensed dentist since 2000 after graduating from Northwestern University School of Dentistry. She is a member of several dental organizations and has been one of the top general dentists in the Sacramento area for the past five years.