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Caring for Braces

Caring for BracesThere’s a lot more to wearing braces than meets the eye. Used as a fix for dental troubles, braces can actually lead to future oral health problems if not cared for properly. When getting braces, it’s a good idea to know what kinds of tools are needed and what habits should be developed so that treatment will go smoothly. Proper habits and care leave you with a straighter, healthier smile when the braces come off.

Some of parts of taking care of braces should already be a part of everyday dental hygiene. A daily pattern of brushing, flossing, and rinsing is necessary for regular oral care, and is even more essential when undergoing treatment with braces of any kind. Such care gets rid of food or other particles that can get stuck in the small spaces between brackets, teeth, and gums. This prevents cavities and bad breath. Decalcification is also prevented or slowed, which is an early stage of tooth decay. Decalcification is shown by white spots on teeth, and if braces are not carefully cleaned, spots will appear after removal.

 Brushing with braces is a bit more labor intensive than your normal tooth brushing. On top of a regular toothbrush, a small brush with very fine, soft bristles is used to clean in and around the braces, be they metal or of another material. Brushing should also take place more than twice a day; after every meal is recommended, because food easily gets lodged in the braces. Brush softly so that the bristles don’t hurt your gums or get caught in the brackets, and rinse thoroughly. Rinsing helps get any missed food out and freshens breath.

 Dental hygiene habits are not the only ways to care for braces. One other way is to avoid certain kinds of foods or change the way you eat them. For example, sugar sodas increase plaque and can speed up decalcification, to which people who have braces are particularly susceptible. Opting for another beverage may seem restrictive, but in the long run it’s better for your teeth, even for those who don’t have braces.

Certain foods should be consumed with caution as well, or avoided until the braces come off. Foods like popcorn, hard candy, or other crunchy snacks can break braces and damage gums. Healthy foods like carrots and apples can do this, too, but instead of avoiding those, cut them into small pieces. No matter what foods are consumed, always brush and floss to help cut down on potential dental problems.

 Braces don’t have to be a burden. Developing habits like brushing, flossing, and rinsing, and being careful of what foods you consume, are just as important for people without braces as they are for those undergoing treatment. Healthy habits are ones that can be continued even after the braces come off, and dental health will perpetuate long after treatments are over. Taking care of your braces enhances treatments, because it isn’t just the braces that are treated carefully. It’s what is behind the braces—your teeth—that are most important. With special care, you’ll take them with you for a long time!

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