Let’s show your smile some love now that you’ve got braces. When you wear braces, you must take extra care of your teeth and gums. That’s because food has more places to lodge and hide, raising your risk for cavities, swollen gums, bad breath and permanent white marks on teeth. A little extra care can go a long way toward a healthy, happy smile. Just follow these tips:
What to eat/not eat. Stick with a healthy diet to maintain your overall well-being including your oral health. Reach for soft foods such as:
- Soups, stews and pasta
- Casseroles and scrambled eggs
- Sliced apples and pears
- Sandwiches and pizza cut into bite-sized pieces
Avoid sugary and starchy foods, and hard, sticky, chewy and crunchy items such as:
- Hard pretzels, pizza crust and crusty bread
- Popcorn and tortilla chips
- Taffy, caramels and licorice
- Lollipops, hard candy, mints and nuts
- Ice cubes and crushed ice
Clean multiple times a day. Brush for two minutes after every meal or snack, and before bed. Carry a travel toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste with you so you can brush when you’re on the go.
Rinse with water. Head to the bathroom or a public restroom and rinse with water after eating or drinking a sugary or acidic beverage, especially if your toothbrush is not handy. Swish water around to dislodge food particles and wash away sugar or acid buildup.
Floss daily. Clean between teeth, between archwires and teeth, and under the gum line. Use a floss threader or pre-threaded floss with an aglet tip (like a shoelace).
Pick up an interproximal brush. Remove food from around your brackets, between archwires and teeth, and between your teeth. These tiny brushes also tackle plaque buildup. For extra protection, dip the brush in a capful of fluoride rinse.
Put a water irrigator to work. Flush out food particles by squirting water between teeth and between archwires and teeth. Keep using a water irrigator after your braces come off.
Ask your orthodontist for more tips and embrace a lifetime of smiles.