So today’s the day; finally, you’re getting your braces placed; it’s the first step in a long journey to the best smile of your life. With a new smile, your life will change for the positive in some very important ways; but for now, you’ve got other adaptations to make. Life with braces comes with challenges, and you’ll need to rise to those challenges when they come up. If you don’t, you risk spending even more time in your braces!
In our Valparaiso, IN orthodontic practice, we hear lots of questions from patients (and parents, for that matter) about how braces will affect their day-to-day lives, what changes they should prepare for, and how they can get the most out of their orthodontic treatment (with the fewest number of interruptions and setbacks).
Changes to Your Lifestyle
Braces, or for that matter, any orthodontic appliance (and we offer a variety in our practice) will change how you get through each day. From the moment you wake up to when your head hits the pillow at night, you’ll have some new responsibilities (or at least you’ll need to pay closer attention to responsibilities that have been yours for a while), and you’ll need to be cautious about what you eat.
Diet and Eating
Braces are made of metal wires and metal brackets; they should be tough, and they are, but they can be very delicate and fragile under the right circumstances.
If you enjoy sticky, hard, chewy, or really sugary foods, you need to invest in some new cookbooks, because those kinds of foods are just what you need if you want to stay in your braces for as long as possible, or if you want to really throw a monkey wrench in your treatment timeline.
Foods that are more difficult to chew can break wires and brackets, which can be costly to repair and of course, it will set you back a while in your treatment.
Excessively sugary foods are also on the no-no list; well, they should be at least on your “once in a while” food list, but with braces you might want to avoid them all together. The reason for this is to control your oral bacteria, which you know as plaque. Plaque bacteria don’t need to live just on teeth. Plaque can easily build up on braces, in addition to the plaque on your teeth. That means you stand a good chance of having more oral bacteria than a person without braces, and the best way to prevent that, or at least slow it down is to cut out sugary foods.
The bacteria that makes up plaque loves sugar, and it can get it from the food you eat (as tiny particles left in your mouth after meals and snacks), and even from your saliva. If you eat less sugar (especially “carbs” like cereal, candy, bread, and pasta, or any foods that you know to be heavily processed, which can have a lot of sugar added to them when they’re made), you will have less bacteria.
It might even be advisable to eat less in general to make sure that your teeth are as clean as possible. Don’t starve yourself, but if you’ve already had lunch (as an example), just remember that after you’re done with that mid-afternoon snack, you need to clean your teeth afterward or you risk pushing back your treatment timeline. It’s a good idea to eat a regular times where you can schedule enough time to eat, relax, and clean your teeth.
Keeping Your Teeth Clean
Before braces, you might have heard your dentist telling you how important it is to brush your teeth, floss, and rinse twice a day, but you might not have taken it very seriously. Now that you’re wearing braces, keeping your teeth clean is extremely important, and the condition of your teeth during your orthodontic treatment is directly correlated to how long your treatment will last. If you don’t take the time to keep your teeth as clean as you possibly can, you can expect complications; in most cases, these complications can be addressed, but they will be enough to add weeks, even months to the time you spend with a mouthful of metal.
Remember: the goal here is to get your best smile, and get the most out of it!
Are You Suffering Due to Misaligned Teeth?
One out of four adults could benefit from orthodontic treatment, but many don’t because it takes too much time; at Orthodontic Affiliates, we have the orthodontic options to repair even the most severe misalignment and bite problems.
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