Wearing a set of custom braces for just a few short months can dramatically increase a person's quality of life; having their crooked teeth straightened can not only boost their self-confidence but also rid them of all of the oral health issues associated with severely misaligned teeth. However, despite all of the benefits, wearing braces can be challenging. If you've just been fitted for orthodontics, here are two things you can do to make your experience of wearing them a little easier.
Improve your dental hygiene routine
Regardless of how consistent and thorough your current dental hygiene routine is, you will still need to improve it when you have your braces fitted, as wearing orthodontics can significantly increase your risk of developing cavities, gingivitis and chronic bad breath. This is because the bacterial plaque that grows when you consume sugary and starchy foods can get stuck in between and behind the components of your braces. If these bits of plaque are not removed before they harden and turn into tartar, they could result in decay and gum inflammation, as well as decalcification (this is when the acid produced by plaque leaches the minerals out of teeth, thereby creating a permanent stain).
During the time that you wear your braces, you should brush your teeth after every meal and snack. Before you begin this process, rinse out your mouth with water to help dislodge bits of food that may have become trapped in your braces. Then, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean as much of the teeth's surface as possible, taking particular care to brush along the gum line, where inflammation is most likely to occur. Ideally, when you're finished brushing, your braces should look shiny and there should be no remnants of food stuck in the brackets.
Flossing is also important. It's best to use waxed floss, rather than unwaxed, as the former is more robust and therefore less likely to be torn apart when being moved through the metal components of your braces.
Change your diet
You will need to make some dietary adjustments, in order to prevent damage to your braces and your teeth. Generally speaking, most hard or chewy foods (such as crusty pizza bases, raw carrots, baguettes, crisps, toffees and popcorn) should be avoided if possible, as there is a chance that biting into these foods could dislodge or snap one of your braces' brackets. If you have to eat a meal that contains these types of ingredients, make sure to cut them into very small pieces before putting them into your mouth, and chew them slowly, using your back teeth.
Seeds and nuts are best avoided; whilst they are unlikely to do serious damage to your braces, they will get stuck in them and be very difficult to remove. In addition to being quite uncomfortable, these trapped food particles could also increase your chances of developing dental health issues.
As a mum, I know how essential sport can be to children's development. Through team sports like soccer, kids learn persistence, sportsmanship and the value of supporting their team members. However, all that learning carries some risk as well, and a stray elbow or a ball to the face can result in oral injuries. I have been the mum rushing to the emergency room with a precious permanent tooth sitting in a cup of milk. Admittedly, at the time, I wasn't even sure if the cup of milk was the right solution. As a parent, you will face those situations, and I'm here to make sure you know what to do when they pop up. With this blog, let's explore children's dentistry and sports injuries together... I want you to have the info you need to stay cool, calm and collected, regardless of how many teeth are on the pitch.