Whilst dental and orthodontic treatment, on the whole, is becoming faster and more convenient all the time, thanks to research into the human body itself and ever more advanced technology, there are still some treatments which can never be rushed. One such treatment is the shifting of teeth which are crooked, overcrowded or don’t meet properly and evenly. Whilst very small discrepancies can be ‘hidden’ using veneers, anything which requires the actual position of the teeth in the jaw to be altered will, by its’ very nature, take several months at least. These months will usually be spent wearing a brace of some kind or another, and it is this fact which has, in the past, tended to deter people from having their teeth straightened. The thought of having to wear an unsightly and uncomfortable metal contraption in the mouth has often struck people as being worse than the problem it was solving, but this fear is to misunderstand the nature of modern orthodontics. Braces crafted and fitted today are much less cumbersome and much more lightweight and discrete than they were even a few years ago, and the desire for a perfect smile has led to the wearing of braces, particularly amongst younger people, losing virtually any stigma it might once have had. What is absolutely vital, however, if you do have braces fitted, is that you take the few extra steps necessary to ensure that you maintain the highest levels of dental hygiene. Extra care when wearing braces The reason why you need to take extra care of your teeth when wearing braces will become readily apparent as soon as you look in the mirror. The actual construction of the braces themselves – metal wires and brackets cemented onto the teeth – creates a wealth of nooks, crannies, hooks and edges on which food debris and plaque can gather and collect. If you don’t take the extra time and care required when cleaning your teeth, then it’s possible that you may end up with spots of discolouration on the enamel of the teeth, or even developing more serious problem such as swollen and bleeding gums. If left untreated, the problems of gingivitis (bleeding gums) can develop into periodontitis (gum disease) which can result in the teeth actually falling out altogether. For this reason it’s vital that, whilst wearing your braces, you pay regular visits to the dentist to have your teeth checked for problems, as well as keeping them as clean as possible at home. A diet to look after your teeth It used to seem simple – If you wanted to look after your teeth, then you avoided food and drink which were high in sugar. Nowadays, however, dentists are more concerned about the detrimental effects that foods which are high in acids can have on the enamel of your teeth, weakening it and leaving it more vulnerable to attack. The irony of the situation, and the fact which makes things more complicated than they would otherwise be, is that many of the high acid foods are otherwise extremely healthy and would be the kind of thing you might expect to be told to eat lots of.
High acid food and drink which can attack the enamel of your teeth includes the following: Pineapples, apples, oranges, peaches, pears, cherries, raspberries, plums, pickles, tomatoes, fruit drinks, soft drinks (diet and regular versions) BBQ sauces, vinaigrette dressings and salsas. Low acid foods which are kinder to your teeth include: Bananas, melons, mangoes, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, milk, water, eggs, seafood, poultry, meat, crackers, pasta and soup
Most people know that foods which are high in sugar can lead to tooth decay, but it should also be remembered that foods high is starch, such as crisps, can also damage teeth because the starch sticks to the enamel for long periods causing decay. Fizzy drinks are especially damaging because they are simultaneously highly acidic and also contain very high levels of sugar. Another tip when it comes to looking after the enamel of your teeth is to bear in mind the vital role played by saliva. The saliva in your mouth acts as a form of natural mouthwash, rinsing away food debris and other damaging substances. The fewer actual meals you eat during the course of the average day, the longer the saliva in your mouth will have to rinse the mouth clean, and you can also drink bottled water as often as you like. Food and habits which are kinder to your braces The key to looking after your braces is to avoid food which might break, bend or loosen the wires and bands of your braces.
Foods in this category include: Nuts, hard biscuits, apples and carrots which should be sliced into smaller pieces rather than crunched whole, toffees, muesli bars, caramel, chewy fruit bars. Two things which definitely need to be avoided are chewing gum and the habit of chomping pieces of ice.
There are also habits which run the risk of damaging your braces such as biting your nails, chewing on a pen or pencil or actually picking at the wires of the braces. If you do somehow damage your braces, you should immediately consult your orthodontist to get your treatment back on track. Looking after your braces at home
If your teeth aren’t as straight as they could be then there’s no need to simply put up with the situation. It’s now easier than ever to have teeth shifted, with modern orthodontic braces and options such as Invisalign invisible braces treatment offering solutions which are convenient and comfortable whilst having the minimum impact upon the rest of your life. If you’d like to have teeth which are straight and true and even then book an appointment as soon as possible.