Braces are often necessary for children and adults to develop straight, healthy teeth. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, braces help fix teeth that are crooked, too close together and too far apart. Braces also can be employed to address under- or overbites. Fortunately, braces no longer carry the stigma they once did and many children are eager to embrace this orthodontic gear if it means achieving a more attractive smile and a properly aligned bite.
One thing that kids (and adults) who wear braces need to consider is that oral hygiene is imperative while wearing braces. Taking good care of braces and teeth is essential to avoiding problems now and when the braces are eventually removed.
The instructions orthodontists give their patients are intended to make the duration of time wearing braces as short as possible. Therefore, avoiding hard or sticky candies and resisting any urges to open items or bite on inflexible items, such as pencils, is crucial. Broken hardware or snapped wires will only prolong the length of treatment if they have to be replaced frequently.
Braces will collect more food particles and bacteria than teeth without brackets and wires. Those with braces may have to change the way they brush their teeth and the frequency with which they brush their teeth. Orthodontists may recommend brushing after each meal to keep food particles from being lodged and plaque from building up. More time should be spent brushing to ensure all crevices and surface areas are addressed. Consult with the orthodontist about the products that may help keep teeth clean. Toothbrushes may need to be replaced more often if braces cause the bristles to wear down quickly.
Flossing should continue while wearing braces, even though flossing with braces can be difficult. Many orthodontists recommend threader floss that allows patients to floss properly around wires. This type of floss has a stiff end that permits flossing between brackets. Reusable plastic floss threaders in combination with regular floss also can be used. Children should be careful not to put too much pressure on wires or brackets when flossing so they don’t accidentally dislodge any hardware.
Visiting the orthodontist routinely for adjustments is a necessary part of wearing braces. Those who skip appointments or do not follow the advice of a skilled doctor may need to spend more time wearing braces. If something becomes loose or dislodged, visit the orthodontist right away.
The benefits of wearing braces are numerous. Proper care can make braces even more effective and a lot more comfortable.