If you’re looking to light up your smile, braces are the way to go – as long as you know which things not to do with braces!
Perfect for teens and adults (and sometimes children), braces help give you the smile you’ve always wanted. Orthodontic treatment can be time-consuming, but while it does take some effort to maintain your teeth, the outcome is worth it—the results last far longer than the treatment.
However, your final smile depends in part on how well you keep up with proper maintenance (including brushing and flossing). So, following all of your orthodontist’s instructions is vital.
Not sure what to avoid during a braces treatment?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the do’s and don’ts with braces to help you get the most out of your orthodontic experience. You’ll get helpful information, like:
- The worst things to eat with braces
- What can’t you do with braces
- Things to do with braces
Read on for braces restrictions so that you can have a greater chance for a successful treatment.
The Do’s: Things To Do With Braces
Before we get to the list of what to avoid during braces treatment, let’s focus on ways that you can take proper care of your braces to ensure you get the most out of them.
Sticking to this list of things to do with braces will help you see the best results.
Brush After Meals
One of the things you need to know about braces is that they can easily trap food and debris as you eat. Food particles can damage the hardware and potentially lead to plaque buildup around your braces.
To prevent this from happening, make sure to brush your teeth after every meal, using a toothbrush with small, soft bristles – preferably one designed specifically for braces.
Sometimes it can be hard to remember to brush after lunch, especially if you’re in school or at work. Simply rinsing your mouth with water after eating can be a good alternative until you get back home or brush your teeth before bed.
Brush and Floss Daily
Brushing and flossing regularly are crucial, especially if you’re wearing clear braces.
For brushing, an electric toothbrush and Proxabrush are often best. When it comes to flossing, water picks and platypus flossers can make it easy to clean around your wires and brackets if you struggle with normal floss.
Poor oral hygiene with braces can lead to severe tooth decay and gum disease. If these issues arise, you may need to stop your treatment to get them under control. So, be sure to follow all instructions given by your orthodontist regarding which type of flosser is best for you and how often you need to brush (at least twice a day) and floss (at least every evening).
Use A Mouth Guard For Athletic Activities
If you’re an athlete you should wear a mouthguard while playing sports to keep your teeth safe.
Unfortunately, custom-fitted mouthguards aren’t compatible with braces. As your teeth shift from the braces treatment, they won’t fit in the custom molding. However, there are some companies that make braces-compatible mouthguards.
Wearing a mouthguard during sporting events will give you an extra level of protection against injuries and trauma to your teeth while wearing braces.
Follow Your Orthodontist’s Plan
Your orthodontist will give you a list of braces restrictions and guidelines, so make sure you stick to them! It’s important to follow the plan laid out by your orthodontist to get the best results. When done right, braces can improve a variety of issues like jaw placement or speech, in addition to helping you work towards the aesthetic results you want.
Trust The Process!
One of the hardest parts about having braces is dealing with the various braces restrictions and habits you have to change. It’s important to understand that this is all part of the process.
Trust your orthodontist and their practices. In time, your hard work will pay off with a smile you’re proud to flash.
The Don’ts: Things Not To Do With Braces
We just mentioned many of the things to do with braces. But what can’t you do with braces?
Let’s take a look at what to avoid during braces to ensure you take the best care of your teeth.
Hard or Sticky Foods
Depending on the type of braces you have, certain foods aren’t recommended because they can get caught in your brackets or damage the brackets/wire.
In general, you should avoid foods that are hard, crunchy, or sticky. Here’s a quick list of some of the worst things to eat with braces:
- Popcorn kernels
- Hard candy (e.g., mints, life savers, etc.)
- Corn on the cob
- Gum and gummy candies (e.g., gummy bears, worms, etc.)
Eating these foods can cause problems with braces, as they may lead to your brackets coming loose or increased plaque buildup. Consider it a habit-building process – as most of the worst things to eat with braces are things you should avoid anyway!
Drinks Packed With Sugar
Add this to your list of “what can’t you do with braces”: consume drinks packed with sugar.
You may already know that sugary drinks can lead to tooth decay and cavities, but did you also know they can damage the hardware of your braces?
The best way to avoid these issues is by skipping soft drinks and other sugary beverages completely. If you can’t avoid sugary drinks, always wash out your mouth with water or brush your teeth quickly after drinking them.
Opening Items With Your Teeth
We get it – your teeth can be a convenient tool to open packages. It seems harmless to bite down on a corner of plastic packaging and tear it open. Unfortunately, it’s not.
Using your teeth to open things can damage your braces and lead to broken brackets or wires. When brackets or wires become damaged, they’ll need to be fixed which will increase your treatment time.
Instead of using your teeth, use a proper tool to open items.
Chewing On Your Hard Objects
Like chewing on gum, it’s tempting to gnaw on things to help ease the initial discomfort of braces. However, the bad habit of biting your nails or chewing on a pen/pencil is definitely in the “don’t” category.
Biting your nails or chewing on a hard object may cause your teeth to shift during treatment or damage your brackets/wire, which can prolong your treatment time.
Picking At Your Wires
It’s tempting to pick at your wires when you have braces. Avoid the urge!
Picking or trying to move them can weaken the metal and lead to broken brackets.
Learn The Do’s And Don’ts With Braces With An Orthodontist You Can Trust
So, what should you do to see the best results with braces?
When it comes to a braces treatment there are things to do with braces and things not to do with braces. Some of the most important do’s and don’ts with braces include:
- Avoiding sugary drinks and hard foods/candy
- Brushing and flossing often
- Not using your teeth for opening packages
- Following your orthodontist’s recommendations
The best way to learn the things not to do with braces is to work with an experienced orthodontist who can provide you with individualized braces care routine.
To make sure you’re receiving the best possible orthodontic treatment, trust the team of experts at Bates Orthodontics. Our team of skilled specialists has experience and expertise in all things braces – from traditional braces to Invisalign aligners. We’re happy to walk you through any braces restrictions and how to care for your braces for the best results. Whether you’re a child, teen, or adult, we believe everyone deserves to feel good about their smile.
Schedule a consultation to talk with a professional orthodontist and start your treatment today.