Did you know that you can straighten your teeth in as little as a year?

Braces are an affordable solution to correct your smile. In exchange for a bit of discomfort, you get the healthy, straight teeth you’ve always wanted. Braces for adults are great if you never had them as a child.

That said, braces are not a fire-and-forget solution. If you don’t know how to care for them, then you risk delaying the results.

In this orthodontic care guide, we’ll go over the 5 tops things you should know about having braces.

1. Brush Often and Get Regular Orthodontic Care

The old wisdom goes that you should brush your teeth after every meal. This prevents any food residue from sitting on your teeth, which could form harmful plaque that damages your enamel. 

Braces are notorious for holding onto the food you eat. If you’ve seen braces for children, you know how bad this can get. It’s not just a gross eyesore, it’s bad for your teeth for the reason outlined above.

Food residue can collect on your teeth even without brackets. So imagine how much worse it is for your teeth when large clumps of food are stuck to them.

To save yourself the unsightly look of food stuck in your braces, carry a toothbrush with you everywhere you go. Store it in a plastic container to keep it clean. Once you’ve finished a meal, dip into the bathroom to clean out your brackets.

The same goes for snacks. Even if you’ve only had a handful of chips, it’s good practice to whip out the toothbrush.

That said, a standard toothbrush isn’t ideal for cleaning behind brackets. Talk to your orthodontist about interproximal brushes. These are those pipe cleaner-looking brushes that allow you to clean the brackets at an angle.

Floss More Often, Too

Flossing should have already been a part of your daily brushing routine. Now, it’s more important than ever.

The problem is that it’s hard to floss with braces. It would be a nightmare to use traditional floss. You should check out a water flosser, or an orthodontic flosser. 

Flossing not only prevents cavities, but it also keeps your gums healthy. At the end of the day, straight teeth won’t look so great if they’re unhealthy. Regular cleaning is a good habit to have with or without braces.

Last of all, don’t miss your orthodontic appointments. These are necessary to tighten or correct your braces. Delay an appointment, and you could delay your results.

2. Limit What You Eat 

Unfortunately, you won’t be eating like you used to with braces. The brackets can break if you eat certain things. Breaking a bracket won’t be a fun experience for you, and it will require an emergency appointment at your local orthodontics clinic.

Even if you don’t break a bracket, you could snap a rubber band. Rubber bands aren’t fun to replace. 

Here is a list of things you can and can’t eat. Generally speaking, you want to avoid foods that are either very chewy, or crunchy and hard. Chewing gum, popcorn kernels, and even stuff like caramels. 

And while we’re on the topic of sugary snack foods, you’ll want to limit your sugar intake. Sugar is a dentist’s and an orthodontist’s nightmare. Cleaning is already difficult with braces for adults, so sugar risks cavities in those difficult-to-reach crevices.

3. Limit What You Drink

If you’re a regular coffee or tea drinker, then you’ll need to reduce or stop your intake with braces. The same goes for red wine. The acidic content can stain your bands as well as your brackets.

This not only creates an unfavorable color, but it also leads to the same problem as before. You’ll have more trouble cleaning off the stains from these beverages. This could leave white spots on your teeth after removing the brackets.

If you’re not willing to make such a drastic change, then consider gargling some water or mouthwash after you finish your drink. This may reduce the staining effect, cutting cleaning time. Coffee drinkers can try iced coffee, and drink it with a straw to minimize contact with the teeth.

Again, avoid sugary drinks if possible. Limit sodas and high-sugar juices. This reduces the risk of cavities.

4. Avoid Tobacco Use

Everyone knows that tobacco can stain your teeth. So like coffee and tea, this can complicate the already complicated cleaning process. Tobacco leaves a much darker, more noticeable stain than coffee.

If you use chewing tobacco, the effect is even worse. Chew can get stuck in your teeth, causing even more complications with cleaning. 

If you’re already cutting back your diet with braces, this might be a time to quit smoking as well. Consider the inconvenience of braces as a blessing in disguise to get rid of some old bad habits.

5. Use the Right Toothpaste and Include Mouthwash

You may have noticed that a lot of toothpaste these days includes a “whitening effect.” This means the toothpaste adds some hydrogen peroxide, commonly used in teeth whitening procedures.

There’s nothing wrong with whitening your teeth. However, you will run into the same problem of staining your teeth with coffee, tea, or tobacco. There will be a noticeable difference in color between where the orthodontist glued the brackets and the surrounding tooth surface.

If you want to get teeth whitening, consider delaying this procedure until after you remove your brackets.

Further, add some mouthwash into your daily oral hygiene routine. Mouthwash is already a great way to clean your teeth. It’s especially helpful with braces for adults because it gets into those hard-to-reach areas.

Know When to See an Orthodontist

Braces are a great, affordable way to straighten your teeth. However, you should use these 5 tips to keep them in the best condition. All it takes is a little bit of extra effort, which gives you the best results.

The best orthodontic care is family-friendly and in your neighborhood. Call us to see how Edge Orthodontics can give you your dream smile.