Being in braces, you will find that you are able to do just about everything you did prior to treatment. There are some things you will want to avoid doing while undergoing orthodontic treatment, however. In this post, we will outline the top ten things that will cause problems for you and your braces, so your experience in braces is problem free!
Eating Hard Foods
Hard candy and foods might be tempting, but they can cause problems for you and your braces. When you chew on something hard, you can cause the brackets to break off of your teeth, and you can cause the wire to come out of the brackets, which might poke your cheek and gums causing pain for you! Some examples of hard foods and candy include jaw breakers, sweet-tarts, hard pretzels, hard breadsticks, and nuts.
Eating Sticky and Chewy Foods
Sticky and chewy foods can be delicious, but they are often the causes of problems with braces. Non sugar-free gum, taffy, caramels, and other similar foods can get stuck on braces and pull lose your brackets and wires, which can cause you discomfort if wires start to poke from being pulled loose. Stick with drier foods that are easier to chew and wont adhere to your brackets and wires the way sticky foods will.
Chewing on Things Other Than Food
If you like to chew on pencils, pens, mouth guards or other non-food items, this is a habit you will want to break immediately before pursuing orthodontic treatment. Not only are these items bad for your teeth in general, but they can bad for your braces, too. Chewing on non-food items can result in brackets coming loose or breaking off and can also result in wires being knocked loose, so learn to curb that habit sooner rather than later.
Not Brushing Teeth After Eating
While it might seem inconvenient to have to brush after every meal, excellent oral hygiene is absolutely necessary when you are in braces. Braces act like shelves on your teeth and can hold food on your teeth and gum line, causing irritation that can result in swelling, bleeding and eventually cavities. Keep a small pouch with a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste at work, school or in your car to make it more convenient to brush.
Flossing your teeth is definitely more of a challenge when you have braces, but with the right tools and a little patience, it is possible. Flossing is also necessary when you have braces as the brackets and wires can hold and hide food in places not easily visible to you. Left on your teeth and gums, the food will decay causing gum swelling, bleeding, bad breath and eventually cavities. Use flossers designed especially for braces, floss threaders, or invest in a Waterpik to ensure you are flossing effectively.
Playing With Wires
It might feel strange at first to have braces on your teeth, and when you are bored, it might be easy to reach into your mouth and play with your wires. However, when you choose to play with your wires, you run the risk of breaking the wire, which can result in a wire poking into your cheek and gum line causing you pain. Doing this can also result in a bracket breaking off of your teeth, which might mean an extra trip to the orthodontist’s office. Try to keep from playing with your wires, and if you suffer from fidgety hands, perhaps find another outlet for your boredom such as a stress ball or fidget spinner.
Picking at Brackets
When a bracket is rubbing, or feeling strange to you, you might be tempted to pick at the bracket with your fingernails or other objects. As tempting as it may be, you must refrain from picking at your brackets. Doing so can result in brackets coming loose and causing you additional discomfort and trips to the orthodontist. If a bracket is really bothering you, use orthodontic wax to cushion the irritation, and maybe call your orthodontist if you feel as if the problem is more severe.
Removing the Wire
While you might have figured out how to open the doors on your brackets to remove your wire, you should never do this. It might make brushing and flossing easier, but you run the risk of not putting your wire back in properly, or not being able to get the wire back in at all. Putting a wire in improperly can result in incorrect tooth movement, which might delay treatment completion, and can also in more extreme cases, even cause root damage. Leave the wire removal to your orthodontist, and learn to become a pro at your oral hygiene routine with your wire in.
Playing Sports Without a Mouthguard
If you enjoy playing sports, you will want to get a mouthguard to protect your braces and teeth. Even if you have never had an accident while playing a game, one can happen at any time, and it is better to be protected. Ensure you get a mouthguard, such as the Shock Doctor, that is designed for braces. We sell them at a discount to our patients, but if you are in another state, check with your local orthodontist to see if they offer mouth guards at their office or if they can direct you to a supplier.
Not Wearing Elastics
The biggest thing that is guaranteed to delay your braces coming off is not wearing elastics that your orthodontist recommends to you. Your elastics are essential to correcting your bite, and if you do not wear them, your bite will not change, and your orthodontist will not take off your braces until it is correct. So, wear those elastics day and night!
In conclusion, while it might seem like there are a lot of things you should not do while you are in braces, luckily, these are all things that are easy to avoid or stop doing. If you have further questions on whether or not something will harm your braces, call your orthodontist to ask. They will happy to answer your questions on how to keep your braces and teeth in great shape while you are in treatment.