Braces are a form of restorative dentistry that can give you extra confidence in your smile, correct bite problems, and address jaw and alignment issues that avoid developing painful issues down the road. With an orthodontist’s help at Maestri Dental in Lafayette, you can use restorative dentistry to find braces that work best for your needs and put you on track to a beautiful, healthy smile.
Once you get your new braces, you may wonder how to care for them to ensure you’re not damaging them or your progress to your new smile. We’ve compiled a few tips that may help you or your child in this new journey.
As braces start to change your teeth’ position, the orthodontist will need to adjust them regularly to continue the alignment process. With each adjustment, your teeth may feel sore and sensitive to particular foods for a few days. Follow these tips to eat with braces:
- Cut food into smaller pieces
- Take smaller bites
- Eat slowly and chew cautiously
- Don’t bite onto hard substances
- Use your back teeth to chew
- Use pain relievers to ease sensitivity
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Chewy foods — bagels, licorice, hard rolls
- Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
- Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
- Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Foods you can enjoy with braces:
- Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
- Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
- Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
- Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
- Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
Brush after every meal, if possible, to remove loose food from under brackets and wires. If brushing isn’t an option immediately after a meal, then rinse your mouth out with water to help remove larger food particles.
Brushing and Flossing
Brushing teeth with braces isn’t too different than brushing without braces. It’s still important to brush twice a day for at least two minutes.
Use a soft-bristle toothbrush or electric toothbrush and brush gently for two full minutes. Brush your teeth gently, so you don’t damage the brackets or wires. You should replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the brackets seem to make bristles wear down faster than usual. Remember to brush around all parts of the teeth, including the fronts, sides, backs, and chewing surfaces. A toothbrush with rounded bristles works well for brushing braces, and fluoride toothpaste are always best, as it helps prevent tooth decay.
The wires that connect braces from tooth to tooth make flossing a challenge, but patience and using the correct floss can help immensely. A floss threader is a tool that allows dental floss to clean underneath the archwires easily. When you visit Maestri Dental, we can show you how to use a floss threader to ensure you’re keeping your teeth and gums as clean as possible.
Many people are opting out of the traditional metal braces and going the Invisalign route because they prefer the discreet appearance of the clear aligner. If you and Dr. Gina Liggio Maestri feel that Invisalign is the right option for you, these are a few tips to keep your new aligners in tip-top shape.
- Get into the habit of cleaning your aligners regularly.
Get yourself into the routine of cleaning them in both the mornings and evenings when you brush your teeth. To do so, use toothpaste and a soft toothbrush to scrub both of your aligners gently. This will help you remove the bacteria from your aligners that could otherwise damage your teeth or even impact your health.
- Avoid using abrasive materials when cleaning your aligners.
You should not use soap, denture cleaner, or mouthwash to scrub your aligners. These ingredients can be a bit abrasive to the device and make them appear dull and less “invisible,” so they’ll be easier to see when you’re wearing them.
- When you remove your aligners, make sure you rinse them.
Rinsing your aligners will help remove the lingering saliva and plaque from them before placing them in their case. If you are not at home, just make sure to find a sink or drinking fountain before taking them out.
- Soak your Invisalign aligners daily.
Drop the Invisalign cleaning crystals into a small cup of lukewarm water. Then, drop your aligners into the cup and let them soak for 15 minutes.
- Do not eat with your aligners in.
It is particularly important that you remove them when you eat or drink—otherwise, you could accidentally damage or stain them. The only thing you can consume while still wearing your aligners is water.
- Make sure you brush and floss whenever you remove your Invisalign.
Make sure to brush and floss your teeth before you wear your Invisalign to remove any food debris trapped in your teeth or gums to avoid issues like cavities or gingivitis
- Store your Invisalign aligners in their case.