Every year, around 9 million people in the US receive orthodontic treatment, making it the 3rd largest treatment category in dentistry. You might feel overwhelmed if you’ve recently started undergoing it. After all, understanding which foods and activities to avoid during it can be challenging. But don’t worry—we’re here to help.
In this post, we’ll discuss seven things you must avoid during orthodontic treatments. We’ll also tell you why these precautions are necessary and what you can do as an alternative.
Things To Avoid During Orthodontic Treatment
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your braces, aligners, and natural teeth stay healthy – helping you get the smile you’ve always wanted. So read on to get all the details.
1. Don’t Skip Appointments With Your Orthodontist
It’s important to remember that your orthodontic treatment is an essential part of your dental health journey. Caring for teeth and gums is necessary for a healthy and beautiful smile. It would help if you also cared for your braces or aligners.
There may be plenty of specialists in your state that offer affordable orthodontic treatment, but take out some time to do your research before you choose a competent orthodontist.
Make sure to attend all the appointments with your orthodontist during treatment – they’re vital to ensuring your braces do their job. Call ahead and reschedule if you can’t make it to a meeting.
Your orthodontist will be able to keep a close eye on your progress, so they can make the necessary adjustments if something is off. Sometimes, things might get moved out of alignment and not cause pain right away – but when left untreated, this can result in problems later on. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are a few other reasons why it’s important not to skip appointments:
- Regular check-ins ensure that you’re getting the most out of your treatment plan
- The orthodontist might make adjustments or recommend additional treatments based on how your teeth have moved since the last visit
- You’ll be able to ask questions about maintaining proper care for the braces
- You’ll get an accurate timeline for how long your treatment will last
2. Avoid Eating Crunchy and Sticky Foods
Eating crunchy foods can wreak havoc on your braces and make it more difficult for your orthodontic treatment to progress as planned. Sticky snacks, such as caramels, gummy bears, and chewing gum, can quickly damage the wires and brackets that facilitate your correction.
It’s best to avoid these altogether while wearing braces—but if you want something sweet, stick to ice cream or pudding.
Additionally, abstain from hard or chewy foods like steak and hard candy: these can put unnecessary strain on your brackets and cause them to detach.
3. Don’t Use Your Teeth As Tools
For starters, using your teeth as tools can damage them significantly. Your teeth can chip or break if they come in contact with complex objects. No matter how minor the damage may seem, it’s still permanent and could cause severe complications like tooth decay or gum disease.
Using your teeth as tools also causes unnecessary wear and tear. It increases friction, leading to an uneven stress distribution on your teeth, causing them to wear down inappropriately over time.
This damage can also affect the overall alignment of your teeth, leading to crookedness or overcrowding in some areas of your mouth.
4. Don’t Brush Too Hard
It’s essential to brush your teeth. However, brushing too hard may damage your enamel and wear away the protective coatings of your braces. Instead, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush lightly in circular motions when cleaning your teeth. In addition, make sure you avoid the following:
- Using a hard or abrasive toothbrush
- Using excessive pressure when brushing
- Vigorously scrubbing the brackets and wires
By being mindful of the pressure, you apply while brushing; you can stay on top of your oral hygiene. It helps protect the health of your teeth and gums.
5. Take Care of Your Braces
To protect your braces, here’s what you should do:
Get an interdental brush to step up your oral hygiene game. It has a small head and can easily fit between the wires and brackets to remove any food debris from hard-to-reach places.
Floss regularly—do it gently; otherwise, you might break the wires or dislodge the brackets. A floss threader is also helpful for getting underneath the archwire.
6. Avoid Using Mouthwash With Alcohol Content
When undergoing orthodontic treatments, it’s vital to avoid any products with alcohol content. It includes mouthwash which may contain up to 25% ethyl alcohol.
Alcohol can cause dry mouth, inflame your gums, and lead to cavities and other minor dental issues. It’s best to avoid any alcoholic mouthwash.
While cooling your mouth off during a hot summer day might feel nice, using these products can disrupt your orthodontic treatment progress. Instead, use fluoride-based or foaming agents without sweeteners or alcohol content to keep your teeth healthy and strong during treatment.
7. Don’t Grind or Clench Your Teeth
It’s important to remember not to grind or clench your teeth while wearing braces or during orthodontic treatments. It can add stress to both the brackets and wires, as well as the different components of your mouth.
It can cause your treatment to take longer, as the brackets and wires will take extra time to be re-tightened and get back into proper alignment.
Additionally, it can lead to jaw pain in some cases. You must pay attention to any unusual sensations in your jaw while wearing braces so that you can make adjustments if needed.
Finally, stress can be a significant factor in grinding or clenching one’s teeth. Try practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or a hot bath. It may help reduce the pressure on your teeth while improving your overall well-being.
Brace yourself and be prepared to develop healthy habits to get the most out of your orthodontic treatment. After all, it’s a commitment that will result in stronger and healthier teeth. Be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions.
Keep the things you should avoid under control to reduce the risk of developing complications during orthodontic treatments—best of luck on your journey to a safe, cheerful, and healthier smile.