After a patient gets braces or another orthodontic device put in their mouth, it is more important than ever to get serious about protecting their teeth and gums. There are quite a few issues that can begin to take place during orthodontic treatment ranging from cavities to gum disease, and these few tips will allow you to maintain a bright and healthy smile in the coming months.
Foods to Avoid
A change to your diet could be the biggest shock during your orthodontic treatment. Not only will certain foods increase your risk of developing cavities and periodontal disease, but they could also physically damage the braces. Beverages such as soda can be especially problematic as they allow sugar and dyes to seep into small cracks in and around the teeth. Other foods to avoid include ice, nuts, hard raw vegetables, gummy candy, and hard breads. Anything that is particularly hard, sugar-laden, or chewy should be removed from your diet.
Flossing can be especially difficult once you have braces on your teeth, and this is why many patients invest in a floss threader. These simple devices help you run the floss between your teeth and around the wires from your braces. While this step of keeping your teeth clean will take some extra time, it is very important to continue doing at least a few times per day. If the flossing is causing severe irritation, then you should speak with the dentist about changing your floss or your techniques.
Anyone with braces should make a habit of having their toothbrush with them everywhere they go. Instead of simply brushing at morning and night, braces create a slew of new areas where food particles can get stuck in the mouth. After every meal or snack, it is a good idea to brush your teeth even if it is just with water. Be sure to get above and below the braces as well as the chewing surface of the teeth and the far back of the mouth.
Patients that are not used to mouthwash should begin making this a regular daily habit. Mouthwash is perfect for those with braces as it can easily remove food debris from areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush or floss. After brushing and flossing, you can swish it around your mouth for a minimum of 30 seconds. This will remove any lingering bacteria and will even help with inflammation of the gums.
Dealing with Discomfort
You may have some discomfort in the first few days after getting your braces or when they are tightened and adjusted. When this happens, then you may want to take the recommended dose of Tylenol for your age and size. It is also a good idea to drink as much liquid as possible and avoid hard or chewy foods.
Finally, patients should always remember to contact Ragan Orthodontics with questions or concerns. Ongoing discomfort, bleeding gums, and tooth pain should all be addressed immediately to prevent any serious oral health conditions from occurring. At Ragan Orthodontics, Dr. Michael Ragan is available to address any questions or concerns you may have throughout treatment.