How to Take Care of Braces: 8 Habits to Break

Knowing the proper braces care plays a vital role in the progress of your teeth. You should also follow through with your dental appointments and listen to what your dentist says. Why? Because aside from improving your smile, your braces will fix other dental problems you might have, like misalignments, malocclusions, and overcrowding.

Your dental braces require extra care. This is to avoid damaging your braces and the costly emergency visit to get it fixed.

How to Take Care of Braces

Whether you choose Invisalign or traditional metal braces, here are some bad habits you need to break now:

1. Using Your Teeth for Things Other Than Chewing

Admit it. You’ve tried opening packets of ketchup or a bag of chips using your teeth. Remember that your teeth are meant for chewing and not as a tool. When you use your teeth to open packets, you put unnecessary strain on your teeth. This might damage your brackets or force your teeth to shift positions. The next time you find yourself struggling to open a bag of chips, use a pair of scissors to open it.

2. Chewing Non-Food Items

This is another common bad habit people with braces do unintentionally. There are days that you’ll find yourself in deep thought without realizing that you’ve been chewing on your straw, pen, pencil, or anything you’re holding on to. However, chewing on hard items will break, chip, or loosen your brackets. The pressure from biting objects will damage your braces.

3. Using Toothbrushes With Hard Bristles and Brushing Too Hard

People, even those without braces, often have the wrong notion that choosing a toothbrush with hard bristles is a better choice than a soft-bristled toothbrush. Also, they think that the harder you brush your teeth, the cleaner they’ll be. You should know that cleaning your teeth doesn’t require too much force. Rigorous brushing will damage the enamel on your teeth and hurt your gums. It may cause soreness, bleeding, and pain.

4. Sucking on Your Thumb

This habit usually starts in childhood and may last up to adolescence. Thumb sucking results in misalignment. What you can do to control your thumb sucking is to wrap your thumb in a cloth or dip it in a mixture of flavors you don’t find particularly appealing.

5. Biting Your Nails

Aside from sucking your thumb, another habit that you should stop as part of braces care is nail-biting. It will be hard to refrain from doing this, but keep in mind that biting your nails might loosen your brackets or damage the orthodontic wires. Excessive biting will also damage your teeth and cause misalignments.

6. Drinking Teeth-Staining Beverages

There are beverages that will cause teeth discoloration over time, such as coffee, tea, wine, fruit juices, and soda. It might also cause discoloration to your elastic ties if you have light-colored ones. To minimize the staining, you should use a straw when drinking, gargle mouthwash or water, or brush your teeth afterward.

7. Chewing Ice

After finishing a cold drink, you might continue munching on the ice. However, ice is too cold and too hard for your teeth. Biting down on them will put unnecessary force on your dental braces, damaging your brackets and wires.

8. Missing Braces Adjustment Schedules

After every adjustment, your dentist will tell you when to come back for the next. It is essential for your oral care to follow the schedule your dentist has given you. If you have other things to do on the same day, ask your dentist if it’s possible to have an earlier appointment or if you can push back for a few days. The more missed dental appointments you have, the more dental problems you’ll encounter and the longer you’ll have to wear your braces.

Dos and Don’ts for Braces

Foods You Need to Avoid

  • Foods that you need to bite such as carrots, corn on a cob, and apples
  • Hard foods such as popcorn, nuts, and cookies
  • Chewy foods such as licorice and bagel
  • Sticky foods such as gum and caramel candies
  • Crunchy foods such as ice, popcorn, and chips

Foods You Can Eat

  • Soft bread such as pancakes, tortillas, and muffins
  • Seafood such as crab cakes, salmon, and tuna
  • Vegetables such as steamed spinach, mashed potatoes, and beans
  • Dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and pudding
  • Desserts such as cake, milkshakes, Jell-o, and ice cream without hard toppings

If you’re looking for Durango, CO, dentists who will accommodate any of your dental braces-related questions and concerns, Sunrise Dentistry is here. We provide cosmetic dentistry services such as orthodontic braces, composite bonding, implants, etc., to adults and children. Schedule an appointment with us today and start working your way to a more confident you!