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Braces – Do you need them?

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Getting braces can be an exciting and nerve-wracking experience all at the same time. You might be concerned about whether or not it will be painful, or you might worry that people might make fun of you for having braces. On the other hand, it can be a very exciting time, because you know that your teeth will soon be straighter, your jaw problems will be fixed, and your smile will be gorgeous. Once you’ve decided to make the time and financial commitment to get braces to straighten your teeth, you might have questions about how to care for them over the next two to four years. You need to protect your teeth and the brackets themselves in order to ensure that you will have the best smile possible after getting your braces off. There are some simple dental braces care techniques that you can do to make sure this happens.

First and foremost, you need to remember to thoroughly brush your teeth at least twice a day, morning and night. Brushing after each time you eat is best, but if that’s not possible, then brushing in the morning and at night is sufficient. Food particles and bacteria that get trapped underneath wires and rubber bands can cause cavities, and brushing right away helps prevent that. Flossing your teeth and rinsing out your mouth can also help in washing away bacteria-causing particles. In addition to brushing, flossing, and rinsing, you need to make sure that you still visit your regular dentist, in addition to your orthodontist, for regular checkups every six months while wearing braces.

With all of the extra equipment and orthodontia in your mouth while you have braces, there are certain foods that you should avoid for various reasons. Some hard foods like raw carrots, beef jerky, peanut brittle, raw nuts, and ice should be avoided. They can break brackets and bend wires, which can prolong the amount of time you need to wear your braces. Sticky foods should also be avoided. These foods include gum, taffy, and caramels, just to name a few. Sticky foods like these can get caught around the brackets and wires and can be difficult to remove. Some foods should also be avoided because they can easily become trapped in the brackets, which can be unsightly and difficult to get out. These include corn on the cob, ribs, and anything else that is removed from a core or bone with the front teeth. Finally, sugary foods should be avoided, because the sugar can get trapped underneath the brackets, causing tooth decay.

With all of the instructions, warnings, and restrictions that go along with having braces, you may feel like the next two to four years will be difficult to get through. Dental braces care doesn’t have to be a pain, though. Brush and clean your teeth regularly and don’t eat the foods you should avoid, and in no time, you will have the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of.

Yours in good dental health,

Dr. Debra Bachus

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