If you just got your braces or are planning on getting them soon, you’re probably already looking forward to the healthier mouth and great smile that will result.Like most things that benefit us, however, some effort is required on our part. This includes taking care of your mouth and braces by keeping them clean. When you have braces, brushing your teeth and taking care of your gums is more important than ever. To help you keep your investment in tip top shape, we've assembled the top 10 tips for caring for your braces:1. Avoid hard, sticky foodsYou can still eat most of the food you enjoyed before braces, but some foods are more prone to getting caught in the wires or elastics, or even breaking a wire or bracket. Foods to avoid include:
Chewy chocolate bars, taffy/caramel candies and gummy bears
Very sticky or chunky peanut butter
2. Take care with hard fruits and vegetablesYou can still enjoy these foods, but you may want to take extra care with:
Corn on the cob – cut off the cob first
Apples and carrots – cut into small pieces
3. Floss your teeth at least once a dayFloss can be threaded through the space between the braces and where the top of the teeth meet the gums. Push the floss down under the wires between your brackets. Remember to floss every tooth, even the ones in the far back. If you like, you can purchase special “floss threaders” for braces at the drugstore.4. Brush your teethBrush at least three times a day: after every meal, and even after every snack if possible. Take your time and brush really well, but not too hard. Clean every tooth surface and around each individual brace very carefully.5. Rinse after brushingWhen done brushing, rinse your mouth with a fluoride containing mouth rinse (such as Oral B) to make sure all surfaces are clean and fresh.6. Avoid teeth whitening productsWhile your braces are on, don't use whitening products including whitening toothpaste or whitening mouthwash. The whitening agent only works on the place it touches, so wait until your braces are off before whitening or your teeth colour will be uneven.7. Use water powerOral irrigation devices, such as the Water-Pik, allow the user to “floss” with a strong stream of water8. Try a proxy brush These brushes have very small wire bristles that fit in hard to reach spaces around your braces. They can be purchased most places where toothbrushes are sold.9. Make a braces kitPut together a “go kit” to take with you through the day. Pack a small bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, a little bottle of mouthwash and even a small mirror. Keep it in your car, locker, purse or backpack.10. Hands offDon’t play with your braces. Don’t pick at them, bend the wires or try to adjust anything yourself.