Are you one of the four million Americans currently wearing orthodontic braces? You’re on your way to a straighter smile and healthier teeth, but you probably know that having braces comes with some added responsibility too.
Your braces require special care to keep them in good condition and keep your teeth healthy. And as a board-certified orthodontist, Walied Touni, DDS, MSD, knows how to help patients get the most out of their braces.
In this blog, Dr. Touni and our team at Touni Orthodontics in Sunnyvale, California, share our most important tips for caring for your braces.
How to care for your braces
Although everyone has different needs, most people wear braces for 1-3 years. That means you need to learn how to take care of your braces and your teeth early on, so you can avoid complications like damaged braces, painful cavities, and post-braces stains.
Here’s what we recommend:
Brush your teeth regularly
Everyone should brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Good oral hygiene is especially important when you have braces.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to brush carefully around the brackets and wires of your braces, using a back-and-forth motion to remove plaque and food debris. You may also want to use a small interdental brush or floss threader to clean between your teeth and around your braces.
Keep your braces clean
Whenever you clean your teeth, you also should clean your braces. Regularly cleaning the brackets and wires helps prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria.
You can use a specialized orthodontic brush or a proxy brush to clean your brackets and wires, use a water flosser, and/or rinse thoroughly with mouthwash. If any parts of your braces are removable, Dr. Touni can show you how to remove them, clean them, and put them back in place.
Protect your braces (and teeth) from damage
If you play sports or participate in other activities that could potentially damage your braces, it's important to protect them with a mouth guard. You can purchase a mouth guard at a sporting goods store or ask our team about custom-made mouth guards.
Wearing your mouth guard every time you play reduces your risk of damaging your braces and suffering painful injuries, from cut lips to knocked-out teeth.
Avoid certain foods
Unfortunately, wearing braces often means changing your diet. Certain foods can damage your braces or make your teeth harder to clean.
We usually recommend you avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods, like hard candies, gummy bears, and corn on the cob. It's also a good idea to cut your food into small pieces and avoid biting into hard or crunchy foods with your front teeth.
See your orthodontist regularly
Along with at-home care, you need to see your orthodontist regularly when you have braces. We usually schedule appointments every 4-8 weeks, but your exact timeline may vary.
We examine your braces and your teeth at every appointment. Dr. Touni makes necessary adjustments to keep you on track. Regular orthodontic care is the best way to ensure that your braces are working properly.
By following these tips, you can do your part to maintain your braces and achieve the beautiful, straight smile you desire. Book your next appointment at Touni Orthodontics by calling our office or requesting an appointment online today.