Some things change when you get braces. For example, you’re probably well aware of the fact that you won’t be able to chew gum for the next couple of years. If your dentist has recommended that you or a member of your family get braces in the near future, here are a few things to know about living with braces.
You won’t have to go on a special diet when you get braces, but you might notice that some foods are more difficult to eat than others. Your orthodontist is also likely to give you a list of foods to avoid during the few years you have the braces on.
For example, popcorn, crunchy potato chips, and hard candy are typically off-limits. The hardness of these foods can spell disaster for your braces, as they might actually break your braces. Sticky sweets, such as gum, caramels, and taffy will also likely be on your “don’t eat” list. These foods not only increase your risk tooth decay, thanks to their high sugar content. They are also sticky enough to get stuck on your braces’ wire or bracket and can pull the braces right off of your teeth.
Some foods won’t necessarily be off-limits, but you might have to change the way you eat them. If you love apples, for example, you might want to get in the habit of cutting them into slices and eating them that way, rather than taking a big bite directly from a whole apple. The same holds true for corn on the cob. You don’t have to give up fresh corn while wearing braces. But, you will want to avoid eating it directly from the cob.
Keeping the Braces Clean
Wearing braces can present an additional challenge to keeping your teeth clean. When you have braces, bits of food have even more places to hide and get caught. For that reason, you’ll want to be extra diligent about brushing and flossing every day. You might consider brushing after each meal or carrying around a small flosser or toothpick to discreetly remove any pieces of food that might get stuck between your teeth.
Sometimes, your braces might cause you a bit of discomfort. If your braces are fairly tight, you might feel pain in your teeth, gums or jaw. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever might be sufficient for easing any discomfort you feel.
There might also be times when a wire on your braces springs loose or when a bracket breaks. A loose wire or bracket can scrape or scratch the inside of your mouth. If you think there’s an issue with your braces, see your orthodontist right away, so that she can repair the problem. She might also give you a special wax to put on the wire, if it’s scratching you without actually having come loose.