Managing the Holidays with Braces

Braces come with a lot of special care requirements. With the holiday season right around the corner, there are a lot of hidden challenges to face in relation to the care and keeping of your braces and oral hygiene. From travel to holiday foods, not all the holiday hazards are avoidable. With diligence, common sense and a few extra steps can help you stay on track to a beautiful smile.

Holiday Foods to Watch Out For

There are everyday foods your orthodontist will advise against eating when you have braces. This is to prevent damage and protect the overall health of your teeth. Nuts, popcorn, hard candy, and caramel are all things that make the “what not to eat” list.  The tricky part of the holiday season for braces wearers is the abundance of these hazardous treats. Whether it’s caramel apples to ring in the fall or pecan pie at big holiday meals, these seasonal treats are still potentially damaging. Though it is best to continue avoiding these foods, it doesn’t mean all holiday treats are off the list. Look for softer treats such as pumpkin pie, ice cream, fruit cups, gelatin desserts, and even thinly sliced apples dipped in chocolate or yogurt. Having braces doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy holiday treats. It just means to continue using the same care and consideration you would on any other day.

Holiday Hygiene

Traveling and added sweets during the holiday season make managing your oral care routine extra important. Normally, The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that patients brush and floss after eating sweets, but you may want to take it a step further according to some dentists. Brushing as soon as five minutes following a meal or snack is another recommendation.

Overall, it is important for orthodontia wearers to remember to dedicate extra time to brushing and flossing properly. It may help to keep a travel toothbrush and supplies handy. Though it is not a substitute for brushing, rinses may be especially pivotal to maintaining oral health when access to running water to brush teeth is not available, such as during holiday travel. Don’t forget bottled water is always a usable option in lieu of potable sink water!

The holidays are a season for celebration and family time. Even with braces, you can indulge and enjoy this time of year. Just be sure to watch out for treats that may be a hazard to your smile and always remember to maintain the cleaning routine and practices as directed by your orthodontist. Dr. Marc S. Wright and his team are always happy to guide you on the best way to keeping your smile healthy and bright. Feel free to call us with any questions.

Tips for Flossing With Braces

Getting braces comes with a variety of new oral care challenges and special steps. Flossing with braces is one such challenge that people regularly face, and it isn’t always easy. To help, here are three quick tips to make the process easier and ensure your teeth are getting properly cleaned:

1. Use Waxed Floss
Regular uncoated flosses can get stuck and shred more easily in the wires and brackets of braces. Waxed floss and dental tape are more durable when maneuvering. There are even specially designed floss products for those with braces.

2. Give Yourself Enough Floss
Most people don’t realize how much floss they should actually be using every time. It’s recommended to use about 18 inches of floss every time. (Yes, that’s a foot and a half!) You should be using a clean floss segment or section every time you move from tooth to tooth. This helps remove germs and bacteria more effectively.

3. Thread & Maneuver Carefully
Braces are a delicate obstacle to flossing. First, thread the floss carefully under the main wire before passing it through the pair of teeth. Trying to pass it through the teeth first, can damage wires if not done gently and make it more difficult overall to floss. It is also best not to snap the floss and instead move it up and down gently along the sides of each tooth.

Other dental care products can help ease the flossing process when you have braces. Floss threaders and water picks can be used with braces and are all designed to help keep your smile healthy and bright. Dr. Marc S. Wright and his team are always happy to help you get the technique just right and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today!