One million adults wear braces. Braces can improve your smile; they can also promote tooth decay and discoloration. Adult orthodontia requires special care.
Braces wearers have to see their orthodontist for a checkup every four to six weeks. No matter what your schedule looks like checkup appointments must be kept.
During a checkup, the orthodontist will inspect braces for breakage and other damage. Any needed adjustments will be made and the bands (ligatures) that hold the wires and brackets together will be replaced if necessary. The overall health of your teeth will be assessed and the orthodontist will tell you whether or not your brushing and flossing efforts are adequate.
Wearers of plastic orthodontic aligners generally wear an appliance for two weeks and then replace them with a new one. The old appliance must be saved and taken to the checkup. The orthodontist needs to inspect them for unusual wear and tear.
Brushing and Flossing
As mentioned earlier, braces can pose a threat to the health of your teeth. Certain foods can react with the metal braces to generate bacteria. Braces make it easier for bacteria to accumulate on and between the teeth. The same is true of plaque, food particles, and sugar.
Ideally, people who wear braces will brush and floss after every meal or snack. You must brush and floss twice a day. A soft bristled toothbrush is best because its flexibility enables the bristles to better reach behind and around the braces. If you are using the right brush you should feel the bristles on your teeth. Rigorous rinsing of the mouth with water is an acceptable substitute when you can’t brush and floss after eating.
Flossing is especially important and especially challenging for braces wearers. Special floss and floss threaders are available to facilitate cleaning between the teeth. Regular dental cleanings are possible while wearing braces.
Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can remove food that brushing and flossing miss. The primary benefit of using an antibacterial mouthwash is obvious. Secondary benefits include relieving pain and swelling caused by the braces. If the braces create open sores the mouthwash will keep them from becoming infected.
When wearing braces it is even more important to avoid sugary foods and beverages. As they can loosen your braces nuts, popcorn, and other hard foods are off limits. No gum chewing or sticky treats. Eat only foods that are low in acid. Cooked vegetables, eggs, dairy, and fish are among the safe foods.
When wearing braces keep your checkup appointments. Brush, floss, and use mouthwash at least twice a day. Always be mindful of what you eat.