The uneasy discomfort of braces gives way to a beautiful smile for life. But having braces comes with some restrictions and extra dental care.
What are braces?
Braces date back to the times of Aristotle, when people contemplated ways to fix dental issues and straighten teeth. 1819 marked the birth of orthodontics with the first wire cribs. Technology and time have evolved to the current braces, which can include: brackets, bonding material, arch wire, and ligature elastic (also known as “O-ring”). For less complex dental issues Invisalign can be used. Whichever system is employed, the goal is the same: constant pressure exerted over time moves teeth into the desired positions.
5 Dental Problems to Watch Out For While Wearing Braces
While wearing braces you need to be aware of the dental issues that can arise and what preventative measures you can take.
- Demineralization: When food and bacteria come together creating an acidic environment, it can damage your teeth. The acid breaks down the minerals and enamel creating white scars. The scar, in the shape of the braces, can remain even after the braces are removed. To prevent this, you need to brush after each meal and avoid sugary and sticky foods.
- Gingivitis: When the gums around the teeth become inflamed, gingivitis may have set in. This is the beginning stage of gum disease or periodontitis. The first signs usually are red, swollen gums that bleed upon brushing. If it’s left untreated it can progress into tooth loss. While flossing and cleaning your teeth and gums can be challenging with braces, they’re key to keeping your mouth healthy.
- Sensitivity: Painful sensations when eating hot or cold foods. Tooth sensitivity happens when nerves are exposed as a result of the enamel having been worn down. To prevent this, it’s important to brush gently, with soft bristle brushes, and get regular cleanings. If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, talk to your orthodontist about treatments, special toothpastes, fluoride applications…
- Plaque: We’ve all heard about plaque, the film formed by bacteria in our mouths. But did you realize that’s it’s build-up can actually erode your teeth, leading to decay. That’s where daily brushing comes in. It’s your daily dental routine and regular cleanings that prevent plaque.
- Tartar: Plaque turns into tartar: a range of stains and discoloration, including tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. The only way to rid your mouth of tartar is a professional deep cleaning. Wearing braces makes cleaning your teeth and gum line more challenging, so it can increase your susceptibility to tartar. Kids and teens need to be reminded of this. But again, good daily dental habits and diet can prevent plaque and tartar.
Eating habits while wearing braces.
The day you get your braces is an exciting day because you know that the journey will lead to a brand new you. While wearing braces it’s important to avoid certain foods that can damage or break the structures, including: crunch, sticky, hard, or tough foods. Things like:
- Hard taco shells
- Hard candies
These foods can damage your braces and teeth, and prolong your wearing-time. Even healthy foods like apples have to be eaten with care. Basically it’s important to avoid biting into foods that can pull the brackets away from your teeth, requiring a dental visit to repair the damage.
It’s best to eat soft foods such as:
- Mashed foods
A good diet while wearing braces relies on foods that are easy to chew and don’t put too much pressure on your teeth.
Dental care and cleaning your braces.
Whether you’re wearing Invisalign or standard braces, you need to clean your teeth properly each time. Any food trapped between your teeth or braces has the potential to bring serious dental issues. Clean each tooth using toothpaste and a soft bristle brush. Always use a mirror to have a close look at each gap between your teeth and braces to ensure you’ve done a thorough job. Also, use a gentle mouthwash to give additional protection. If you experience any pain, loosening, or damage to your braces, you’ll need to visit your orthodontist as soon as possible.
Braces can be life changing. If you care for your mouth properly and watch your diet, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful new smile.