Not long after my son got braces, we were on the hunt for braces tips and tricks to keep his mouth healthy and comfortable. He would, after all, be wearing them for the next eighteen months! If you or your child (or both) have braces, we feel your pain. Braces aren’t always painful but they require lots of care and attention to achieve success. We recently completed the treatment term and have seven braces tips and tricks to share; well, mostly tips and reminders. No doubt you’ve heard these before and that’s OK. Reminders can be incredibly helpful.
1. Chew Softly
First on our list of braces tips and tricks that served us well is to change the way you eat. You may want to eat the same as before starting treatment. You can, but it will be quite painful, especially after your first sets of wires are attached. Chew softer food items and take smaller bites. Soups, broths, and yogurt are comforting the first day or two. Also, remember to avoid sticky, crunchy foods in general.
2. Wear Your Rubber Bands
This part is probably the most tedious. It is also a very important part of your treatment. Rubber bands serve several purposes, such as closing your bite. Those tiny little things can be a real pain to keep track of. They come in a small pouch and spill all over when you least expect it! Try stringing them on a line of floss and loosely knotting the ends together. Doing this helped us keep the rubber bands together.
3. Brush Regularly
OK, obvious fact alert: brush regularly. There are loads of hiding spaces inside your mouth for food debris to hide. Now, imagine how much that multiplies with brackets, wires, and rubber bands added. For a time we used two, sometimes three, brushes to remove food and stimulate gums. That was a little cumbersome. We found that taking our time with one brush worked just as well as when using three.
4. Floss Often
Wearing braces makes eating strange and flossing a little tricky. You now have many new obstacles in the way! There are a number of flossing strips made specifically for braces. These are fabulous, especially the fussy kinds; we love those, they get everything! When you run out of those floss strips (or money for floss strips), use regular floss! Take your time and lace it through the wires, getting each area.
5. Beware the Wires
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you experience a malfunction. For instance, an end bracket dislodged and the wire poked my son’s cheek. OUCH! Fighting the urge to clip the wire was difficult, but we made it through. Unless you are an orthodontist, orthodontist assistant, or have one of either in your home, do not try to correct the situation on your own. Apply wax and call your orthodontist.
6. Mind Your Tongue
Have you heard of “tongue thrusting”? Yeah, I immediately thought about some kind of rogue kissing, too! But this isn’t that! HA! Tongue thrusting refers to the way the tongue moves when swallowing. It is present in babies and many people lose it as they grow older. We learned about this after the braces were removed and our newly corrected bite opened up a little. We are working to correct it. You don’t have to wait until the braces are off. While you are still in treatment you can begin training and strengthening your tongue to possibly avoid your bite opening up later.
7. Think Seasonal Rubber Bands
This part is pretty fun! Rubber bands come in a variety of colors. Experiment with them! Wear different colors on top and bottom or coordinate your colors to the holiday season. Recently, at an eighties themed party, a friend wore neon colored rubber bands. Of course, she had to wear them for a couple weeks beyond the party until the time of her next visit. They were a fun, colorful distraction.
Braces will change your life in many ways. Learning to incorporate the new routines and responsibilities into your daily life is challenging, at first. But, in time, you will have a routine that works for you. Do you have any tips and tricks for wearing braces? Please, share!