Take good care of your braces to ensure success

2013-11-07 00:00

MANY of today’s adolescents (and even some adults) will have to wear braces to help straighten their teeth. During this period they have to be extra diligent about the way in which they care for their mouth.

While the braces are there to help straighten the teeth, special care is needed to ensure the end result is successful.

Meticulous oral hygiene, watching what you eat, and regular visits to the orthodontist will help ensure the end result is a success.

Below are some pointers on how best to care for your mouth while wearing braces.

• More places for food and plaque to hide

When the orthodontist is finished applying the brackets and wires to your teeth (braces), you will notice a considerable difference in how your mouth feels. These brackets and wires create a lot more space where food and plaque will accumulate. It is crucial that you follow a strict oral hygiene routine because of this. Brushing with an electric toothbrush is essential, as the rotating brush head is the only sure way to remove the plaque that has built up between the brackets. Many new electric toothbrushes will be able to fit a specialised brush head that helps get in between the wires of your braces. Flossing is vital in helping remove all the food and plaque that will get stuck between your braces. You will need to buy specialised floss that allows you to thread the floss between the wires and the teeth. You will need extra time to complete this task, but this ensures that your teeth and gums stay healthy throughout.

• Be gentle on your braces

One of the many hassles with wearing braces is that they can break or come apart if one is not careful. Avoid eating food that is very hard and/or very sticky. Rather stick to a diet that is favourable while wearing braces. Foods such as nuts, bagels, hard sweets, popcorn, sticky or crunchy peanut butter and toffees are not recommended while wearing braces. If a bracket or wire is broken or comes loose you must visit the orthodontist as soon as possible to have it fixed. Using special orthodontic wax (provided by your orthodontist) will help safeguard against traumatising your gums or cheeks if a sharp point develops. Many people wearing braces will experience a traumatic sore or ulcer in their mouth at some point. This is best treated by applying BYE Mouth Ulcer to the affected area, which enables the ulcer to heal quickly and painlessly.

• Stick to the plan

You orthodontist will give you a breakdown of the treatment plan when fitting your braces for the first time. This will require regular visits to see him or her. Stick to those visits. They will also require that you visit your dentist regular ly for cleaning and check-ups. Some dentists recommend that you visit them every three months. During these visits a thorough cleaning will be done and all the teeth will be checked for cavities. Because braces make it harder for you to clean, having a professional assist you will ensure that your mouth stays in the best possible condition.

• Wear protection

If you play any form of contact sport it is very important that you protect your mouth and braces from taking a knock. Wearing a specialised gum guard is vital. Your dentist will be able to assist you in having one of these gum guards made.

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