It is our goal to get your braces off here at Kimbrough Orthodontics of Kingwood TX as soon as possible. We can complete your treatment on time and give you an amazing smile. Here’s a guide of dos and don’ts that should help you along the way:
Braces Care Services – Tips For Better Dental Hygiene
As you eat, your teeth, dental braces and appliances collect food. If food is left on teeth overnight, a thick plaque forms on the teeth and gums. Plaque causes bad-breath, tooth decay and gum disease (swollen, puffy, red, overgrown, or bleeding gums). Drinks and foods containing sugar can damage the tooth surfaces and gum tissue. Bleeding and swollen gums are a sure sign that plaque is not being properly removed. If your gums are swollen and inflamed your teeth will not move as easily, you will experience more discomfort during your treatment and white spots or decay will form on the teeth under and around the braces and appliances. It is discouraging to work hard to straighten teeth, only to finish and find decay or white spots on the teeth. The following is essential for the proper care of your teeth and gums:
- Regular Dental Checkups – Although you are having your dental braces checked regularly, it is very important to continue to see your family dentist at least every six months for a thorough examination and cleaning of your teeth. If you experience difficulty with good oral hygiene you my need to see your dentist more frequently.
- Waterpik– Dr. Kimbrough highly recommends the use of a Waterpik to loosen food and plaque before flossing and brushing. The Waterpik should be used on the lower water pressure settings so the gum tissue is not excessively irritated. The use of a Waterpik does not take the place of good toothbrushing.
- Dental Floss – Although somewhat time-consuming, dental floss should be used when wearing braces or appliances. Floss at least once per day just before bedtime and use a floss threader if necessary.
- Soft Bristled Toothbrush – Use your toothbrush after each meal and before bedtime. A travel brush carried in a purse or placed in a locker is great for brushing after lunch. Examine your teeth for food and plaque and thoroughly clean all surfaces of the gums, teeth and braces. Re-examine your teeth to make sure all visible food and plaque have been removed. Repeat this step as often as needed to assure that no visible plaque or food remains. Extra care must be taken in the area between your gums and the dental braces. Concentrate on brushing your gums and the gumline as well as your teeth.
- Electric Toothbrush – Although it is not absolutely necessary for good hygiene, an electric toothbrush may make brushing easier.
FOODS TO AVOID
Wearing braces limits the foods that you are permitted to eat. Certain foods can bend and distort wires causing treatment delays and extra visits for repairs. Others are simply hard to remove with a toothbrush and should also be avoided. Following is an overview of food and drinks to avoid while wearing braces:
Sticky foods like gum and taffy cling to braces and can be hard to remove with a toothbrush, increasing the risk of dental decay. In addition, they can loosen braces or even cause appliance breakage. Examples of sticky foods to avoid include:
- Fruit Roll-ups
- Gummy bears
- Taffy and Caramels
- Milk Duds
Hard, Brittle & Crunchy Foods
During orthodontic treatment, hard, brittle and crunchy should be avoided completely as they can bend and even break the braces and wires. Popcorn is a good example of a food to avoid with braces, that can cause harm in multiple ways. The husks from the popcorn can become lodged beneath the braces and cause irritation of the gum tissue. Unpopped kernels can shear or break off brackets as well as bend or dislodge wires. Other hard, brittle and crunchy foods to avoid include:
- Peanut brittle
- Hard candy
- Candied apples
Sugary Food & Drinks
Always consume sugary food and drinks in moderation. The acids produced by high sugar content foods can attack for twenty minutes (or more!) so the best time to eat carbohydrates or other sugary foods is during a meal. Why? Well, the mouth produces more saliva during a meal which, in turn, helps to neutralize acid production and rinse food from the mouth. In addition, if possible, brush immediately after eating. If not, at least rinse out your mouth with water to remove excess sugar.
Whole Fruit & Vegetables
Whole fruits and vegetables or any raw foods such as apples, celery and carrots should be sliced and eaten carefully. Hard or crusty breads should be broken and eaten in small pieces. Corn may only be eaten if sliced off the cob.
Do not suck on lemons or limes as the citric acid in the juice can dissolve tooth enamel.
While wearing braces, it’s important not to suck on or chew ice cubes. Chewing ice cubes can be very destructive to your appliances and teeth.
No matter what you eat, please use good judgment, clean your teeth and gums thoroughly after eating any food, and always brush carefully before bedtime.
Other habits to avoid while wearing dental braces include:
- Lip biting
- Pushing your tongue against your teeth
- Tearing things with your teeth
- Biting your fingernails
- Chewing on pencils
Basically, don’t put anything in your mouth that may bend, break, pry, pull or knock off braces. Get in touch with us today!