For all teens with braces, here are seven important tips to ensure your orthodontic experience is the most pleasant it can be.
1. Avoid the Crunch
At first, biting down into something crunchy may actually relieve some of the discomfort you’re feeling, but be wary of this quick “fix.” In the long run, eating crunchy foods will actually cause more discomfort.
Crunchy foods, especially harder ones, also run the risk of getting caught in the wires. As much as biting into the bright orange carrot will feel good, an emergency trip to the orthodontist certainly won’t.
2. Brushing behind the Bracket
The most obvious part of the orthodontics that teens with braces will brush is the front; it’s right there and easy to see. But it’s important they get into the habit of brushing behind the brackets, which is where food particles like to hide.
Learning to angle your toothbrush when tackling above and below can get these pesky food remnants and avoid plaque build-up and tooth decay.
Flossing is good for everyone, not just teens with braces. It helps keep gums healthy and removes food from the hard-to-reach places. Flossing can become more difficult with traditional braces. However, flossing is a key part of keeping the braces fully functional and ensuring a healthy mouth.
4. Listen to Your Orthodontist
Your orthodontist went through a lot of schooling to become an expert. Every day, orthodontists work with teeth of all different shapes and sizes, with different challenges. In short: your orthodontist knows what they’re talking about.
If you want to get your braces off quickly and with less hassle, make sure to listen to and follow your orthodontist’s instructions.
5. Hack n’ Slash Solid Food
While your braces are in, make sure to cut up your food. This is going to help prevent breaking or disrupting your gear and causing an emergency run to the orthodontist. This will make it easier to eat and will ensure you stay on your scheduled orthodontic plan without having to add more time.
6. Don’t Eat What You’re Not Supposed to Eat
Sure, you think sneaking just one chewy candy can’t possibly hurt, right? The truth is even one can cause an excess build-up of plaque, cause tooth decay, and seriously alter your treatment plan. Eating off-limits food may even break your appliance, which can have a host of negative side effects (least of all is an emergency trip to your orthodontist).
Remember that bit about listening to your orthodontist? When told not to eat something, don’t eat it!
7. Avoid Overbrushing!
As important as cleaning your teeth and braces is, make sure you don’t overbrush. Regular brushing will keep the equipment clean and contribute to your oral health, but brushing too much will cause your teeth to become sensitive and your gums to recede. Your braces have been installed to help correct your teeth; you don’t want to cause new problems you’ll have to deal with later.
Eighteen months or more can be a long time when you’re a teenager, but by following these seven tips, you can ensure you keep to your orthodontic treatment schedule and avoid any painful or costly setbacks. In the end, once your braces are removed, you’ll have a stunning smile for life.