Every year, Americans spend $111 billion on dental care with a chunk of this being spent by the 4 million Americans who wear braces. Dental misalignment is one issue many people wrestle with. As a result, the orthodontist they see will prescribe braces. There are different types of braces based on the material they are made of and their design: these include ceramic braces and metal ones among others.
When you start wearing braces, it is essential to understand good dental hygiene. The kind of food you should eat, the best method to use when brushing your teeth all affect your braces. Here are some tips on how to best care for your braces.
- Wear a Mouthguard
If you are active in sports and need braces, then you may be worried that they would be too delicate to fit in your lifestyle. Many notable athletes have flourished while wearing braces. Famed soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo did not perform poorly while using his braces. Neither did using metal braces stop Dwight Howard from making a name for himself in competitive basketball.
The secret to comfortably wearing braces as an athlete is to get a mouthguard. As the name suggests, a mouthguard helps protect not just your braces but also your teeth and mouth during sports. In both high and low contact sports, any impact on the braces will irritate your mouth and bruise your gums or the inside of your cheeks.
There are regular mouthguards that you can pick and go. However, these mouthguards are made of thermoplastic which inevitably molds to your mouth as it heats up. Consequently, the mouthguard will not adjust to your teeth as they shift, which ends up stifling their straightening. Consult your orthodontist to fit you with orthodontic mouthguards. These will adapt to your teeth, helping them straighten properly.
- Know the Right Kinds of Food to Eat
As you wear your braces to help your teeth straighten, you need the right kind of diet for proper nutrition. For teenagers and children with braces, an adequate diet is a particular concern. However, there are some foods and drinks that are detrimental to the traditional dental braces you use. Once you get your braces fitted, your orthodontist will give you a list of foods to avoid.
You will need to curb eating nuts after getting your braces as they can break the wires. Raw or fibrous vegetables are another class of foods you will have to avoid while you have braces. If you love sugary foods and drinks, you will need to stop your intake as these can stain the braces and even cause decay.
If you get stains on your teeth while wearing braces, once you remove them, those stains will affect your perfect smile. Other foods that orthodontists will advise against when you have braces include sticky candy, tough meats, popcorn and corn on the cob.
- Brush Your Teeth Correctly
Brushing your teeth is essential for proper dental hygiene. However, when it comes to cleaning your teeth while using braces, things are a little different. You have to be cautious with the brushing motions to avoid dislodging a bracket or breaking the metal wires. A toothbrush with soft bristles is essential when cleaning clear braces and metal ones too. If you’re unsure about the toothbrush to use, your orthodontist can point you to a good one.
When it’s time to brush your teeth first rinse your mouth with water to wash away any loose food debris — angle the toothbrush against the bracket’s bottom part when brushing upwards. To remove food particles that can collect along the gum, angle the toothbrush along your gums, and brush gently. Don’t forget to clean the front and back of every tooth to get rid of bacteria.
- Care for Your Braces Properly
Braces are essential in correcting dental misalignment. After your orthodontist fits your braces, it is up to you to know the best dental hygiene methods to use to take proper care of them daily.